In a prickly exchange over gun control, Sen. Tom Coburn tried hard to get Sonia Sotomayor to explain what she actually thinks about the right to bear arms. “As a citizen of this country do you believe ... I have a right to personal self-defense?” he asked her.
Sotomayor said she couldn’t think of a Supreme Court case that had addressed the issue in that language. “Is there a constitutional right to self-defense?” she asked. “ I can’t think of one. I could be wrong.”
The Oklahoma Republican said he didn’t want to know if there was a legal precedent that would answer his question -- he wanted to know Sotomayor’s personal opinion.
She paused. “That is sort of an abstract question,” she said. “I don’t --"
“Well that’s what the American people want to hear,” Coburn said. Americans don’t want legalese from “bright legal minds,” he said. “They want to know if they can defend themselves in their homes.” ...
National Review's Jim Geraghty weighs in on the Sotomayor credibility gap:
But if you were a Republican senator, and wanted to vote in good faith to confirm Sotomayor, you would have to believe:· That her “wise Latina” argument was just a bad “rhetorical flourish” that accidently left listeners believing she disagreed with Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, when she actually agreed with her.
· That the misperception of the “wise Latina” argument remained uncorrected through six separate uses of it.
· That Sotomayor genuinely has “no idea” why George Pavia, a senior partner in the law firm that hired her as a corporate litigator, would say, “I can guarantee she’ll be for abortion rights.”
· That she did not read the legal briefs filed by the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund while she was on that organization’s board.
· That she genuinely does not have an opinion on whether citizens have a right to self-defense, and could not think of “a case where the Supreme Court has addressed that particular question,” despite the fact that the Heller case decided last year declared, “The inherent right of self-defense has been central to the Second Amendment right.”
· That she “actually agrees” with Justices Scalia and Thomas that judges have to be “very cautious” about using foreign law, despite a speech earlier this year in which she said, “Suggest[ing] to anyone that you can outlaw the use of foreign or international law is a sentiment that’s based on a fundamental misunderstanding.”
· That she really believes that “we don’t make policy choices in the court,” even though she said in a 2005 appearance at Duke University that the “Court of Appeals is where policy is made.”
· That she genuinely believes that “the process of judging is a process of keeping an open mind,” when she said in a 1999 speech that there is “no objective stance but only a series of perspectives. . . . Aspiration to impartiality is just that, an aspiration.”
· That she thinks the man who nominated her has a fundamentally flawed perspective on the role of judges, and that she will not “approach the issue of judging in the way the president does.”
That’s a lot to swallow. Essentially, the poised and affable judge who appeared before the cameras this week came across as almost completely unobjectionable — almost a photo negative of the judge portrayed in Sotomayor’s past speeches. “We’re left guessing as to what kind of judge she would be,” Sen. John Cornyn (R., Texas) said during a committee break. “We don’t know if we’re going to get Sonia Sotomayor the speech-giver or Sonia Sotomayor the judge. Once she’s on the Supreme Court, she can say anything she wants with no chance of reversal. The lack of clarity is creating some problems.” ...
Actions speak louder than words; don't listen to what a nominee says, look at what they've done. This is especially true for politicians.
Senator minority leader Mitch McConnell says he will oppose Sotomayor nomination.
Finally, David Codrea has a roundup of Gun Rights Examiner articles on the Sotomayor nomination here.