Sunday, July 19, 2009
As Sotomayor and White House Avoid Ideology, Some on Left See Wasted Chance
By Amy Goldstein and Paul Kane
The Washington Post
Early on the third day of last week's confirmation hearings, one of the Senate Judiciary Committee's leading liberals leaned forward in his leather chair toward Sonia Sotomayor to explain his hopes for the next member of the nation's highest court.
"I want a justice," said Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.), a veteran politician taking part in his first Supreme Court confirmation, "who will continue to move the court forward in protecting . . . important civil rights. I want a justice who will fight for people like Lawrence King who, at the age of 15, was shot in a school because he was openly gay. I want a justice who will fight for women like a 28-year-old Californian who was gang-raped by four people because she was a lesbian. And I want a justice who will fight for people like James Byrd, who was beaten and dragged by a truck for two miles because he was black."
So, Cardin asked the nominee: Don't courts have to take such factors as race into account?
Sotomayor paused. "Well," she replied, "it depends on the context of the case that you're looking at."
The hearings were a moment of history that liberals had awaited for 15 years: an opportunity for a Democratic president's Supreme Court nominee to inject into the public dialogue fresh ideas about the Constitution and the law, beginning to recalibrate a court that has gravitated to the right....(Remainder.)