Senator Whitehouse’s First Round of Questions to Judge Sotomayor
The Washington Post has the first round of Senator Sheldon Whitehouse‘s questioning of Judge Sonia Sotomayor available at their website.
Ed Whelan of National Review Online notes that the exchange concerning Judge Sotomayor’s involvement with the Puerto Rican Legal Defense fund contradicts what was reported in the New York Times earlier this year. This is what was said today…
WHITEHOUSE: And in terms of the way that the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund operated, you were a member of the board. Is that correct?…and this was what was reported in the Times in May…
SOTOMAYOR: I was.
WHITEHOUSE: Did the attorneys for the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund make it a practice to vet their legal filings with the board first? Did the board approve individual briefs and arguments that were made by attorneys in the — for the organization?
SOTOMAYOR: No, because most of us on the board didn’t have civil rights experience. I had actually when I was a prosecutor in — in private practice, that wasn’t my specialty of law. Even if they tried to show it to me, I don’t know that I could have made a legal judgment, even if I tried. That was not our function.
Ms. Sotomayor stood out, frequently meeting with the legal staff to review the status of cases, several former members said. And so across her 12 years on the board — she left when she was appointed a federal judge in 1992 — she played an active role as the defense fund staked out aggressive stances on issues like police brutality, the death penalty and voting rights.Other than that, I can’t find anything particular interesting — except for the fact that Senator Whitehouse may have outed himself as a closet originalist…
The board monitored all litigation undertaken by the fund’s lawyers, and a number of those lawyers said Ms. Sotomayor was an involved and ardent supporter of their various legal efforts during her time with the group.
WHITEHOUSE: I see the Constitution as being changeless, timeless and immutable.But to be honest, after his opening statement, I’m not really sure that the Senator knows what he’s saying when he’s talking about legal matters.