Sotomayor snubs the senate in written answers to questions

Rick Moran
In a sure sign that Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor believes she has smooth sailing to being confirmed from here on out, the federal judge offered evasive and incomplete answers to a series of written questions by senators following her confirmation hearings earlier this month.

A Washington Times editorial highlights one particular issue where her answer shows her unfitness to serve:

Of particular note is Judge Sotomayor's dodge of a highly important question from Alabama's Sen. Jeff Sessions, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, concerning her dissenting opinion that murderers and rapists have a right to vote while still behind bars. The relevant part of the question read as follows: "Doesn't your dissent in [the case] ignore the fact that the convict's crimes and not any state-based racial discrimination made the felons ineligible to vote?"

The judge's answer repeated her bizarrely brief opinion that "the plain terms of the statute" outlaw all racially disparate "qualifications" for voting. She wrote: "I concluded, based on the unambiguous terms of Section 2 [of the Voting Rights Act] that a law disqualifying felons from voting constitutes a 'voting qualification.' "

Never mind that every other judge on her circuit court found the question complicated enough, ambiguous enough, to spend dozens of pages discussing it. Never mind that Section 2 forbids denial of the vote "on account of race," which means "because of" -- and that nobody ever claimed felons are kept from voting because of their race. Mr. Sessions' question specifically noted that it was not the state that disqualified the felons from voting, but the felons' own actions. His question was clearly -- in her terms, "unambiguously" -- aimed at that distinction.

The Times noted, "Not one word in her written answer addressed that distinction. Her answer was not in the slightest bit responsive to the question."

When there's a clear road ahead to confirmation, why bother with questions from mere senators?



In a sure sign that Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor believes she has smooth sailing to being confirmed from here on out, the federal judge offered evasive and incomplete answers to a series of written questions by senators following her confirmation hearings earlier this month.

A Washington Times editorial highlights one particular issue where her answer shows her unfitness to serve:

Of particular note is Judge Sotomayor's dodge of a highly important question from Alabama's Sen. Jeff Sessions, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, concerning her dissenting opinion that murderers and rapists have a right to vote while still behind bars. The relevant part of the question read as follows: "Doesn't your dissent in [the case] ignore the fact that the convict's crimes and not any state-based racial discrimination made the felons ineligible to vote?"

The judge's answer repeated her bizarrely brief opinion that "the plain terms of the statute" outlaw all racially disparate "qualifications" for voting. She wrote: "I concluded, based on the unambiguous terms of Section 2 [of the Voting Rights Act] that a law disqualifying felons from voting constitutes a 'voting qualification.' "

Never mind that every other judge on her circuit court found the question complicated enough, ambiguous enough, to spend dozens of pages discussing it. Never mind that Section 2 forbids denial of the vote "on account of race," which means "because of" -- and that nobody ever claimed felons are kept from voting because of their race. Mr. Sessions' question specifically noted that it was not the state that disqualified the felons from voting, but the felons' own actions. His question was clearly -- in her terms, "unambiguously" -- aimed at that distinction.

The Times noted, "Not one word in her written answer addressed that distinction. Her answer was not in the slightest bit responsive to the question."

When there's a clear road ahead to confirmation, why bother with questions from mere senators?