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Sotomayor’s Senate Questionnaire Missing Comments from 2004 ACS Conference (Updated)

Morgen on June 4, 2009 at 2:44 pm

I posted earlier this week on some comments that Judge Sotomayor made while sitting on a panel at the 2004 American Constitutional Society Conference. It took a little digging to find these and as I had not seen them posted or discussed anywhere else I thought they were notable. Especially since they were fairly suggestive of strong beliefs that Sotomayor holds (or held) regarding judicial activism and the balance of power between the judiciary branch and other branches of government. It was a very long post which did not attract any attention.

Well, I believe my earlier post just became a little more significant. Judge Sotomayor turned in to the Senate Judiciary Committee today an extensive Questionnaire required of all judicial nominees. Take a look at what happens to be missing from the top of page 74:

I contributed to the panel, “The Future of Judicial Review: The View from the Bench” at the 2004 National Convention. The official theme was “Liberty and Equality in the 21st Century.” I have not found a draft of prepared remarks and have no knowledge if a video of this event exists.

Now I want to stress that there is no way to know whether this was an intentional omission on her part – and personally, I do not believe it was. Since it was a panel discussion, and not a formal, prepared speech, I think she is entitled to the benefit of the doubt (even though these were clearly prepared remarks).

The point is that these comments have not officially been submitted for the record, and will not be unless someone brings this to the attention of the Judiciary Committee or perhaps Judge Sotomayor herself. Perhaps a little help from one of our higher profile blogging friends is in order? Here is the link once again to her full comments from this event.

Update (6/5): Hot Air notes today, linking a post from Wendy Long at NRO, that something else was missing from Sotomayor’s Judiciary Questionnaire. From Wendy’s post:

The omission noted concerns a memo that Sotomayor signed [ed. in 1981] as a member of a three-person task force of the Puerto Rican Legal Defense & Education Fund, in which she objects to the reinstatement of the death penalty in New York state, on the basis, among other things, of her contention that “Capital punishment is associated with evident racism in our society.” 

As it turns out, there is a link between this memo that Wendy notes and the missing transcript from the 2004 ACS Conference that I referenced in this post. In her comments at the ACS Conference, as I noted in my prior post earlier this week, Judge Sotomayor spoke out very aggressively against the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA), calling it “really radical” and all but saying that it was an unconstitutional seizure of power away from the judiciary. The main purpose of the AEDPA was to make it much more difficult for defendants sentenced to the death penalty in State criminal actions to appeal their cases in the federal court system. (Unless there was a clear violation by the State Courts of existing law or precedent as established by the U.S. Supreme Court).

I was going to make note of this connection with the AEDPA and the implication that this may suggest that Judge Sotomayor is opposed to the death penalty, but my earlier post was very long as it was and this connection was not entirely clear. However, with the information that Wendy Long has brought to light I think her comments in 2004 reinforce the likelihood that Judge Sotomayor is personally opposed to the death penalty.

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Category: Politics |

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