Saturday, June 6, 2009

Will Lady Justice Remain Blind?

Earlier I posted how Justice Sotomayor believes the predominant factor in deciding how to decide court cases should be personal experience, instead of case law. This was based on the Sotomayor quote that surfaced saying that wise Latina woman would make better decisions than white males as a result of the richness of her experiences. When the quote surfaced, the Obama administration responded by saying it was a poor choice of words. However, it seems Justice Sotomayor has a long history of saying things like this. As part of the files she gave the Judiciary Committee, there are a number of speeches which indicate that she has a long history of making these comments. She has a regular pattern of saying that experience enables a judge to make a better decision.

The idea of blind justice and equal protection under the law are some of the oldest concepts in American jurisprudence. If judges decide cases based on their experience then justice is no longer blind. We are ripping of the blindfold and dispensing with the idea of deciding guilt or innocence based on what the law says. Instead cases will be decided based on the background you came from.

In past judicial confirmations, much of the attention has focussed on the legal background a person brings to the table. This is important because we are giving someone a lifetime appointment to decide the law(or atleast that was the idea). By nominating someone who believes cases should be decided based on experience instead of case law, we are dispensing with the idea that legal experience is important. If we continue down this path, does it even matter if a supreme court pick attends law school? Maybe we should just find a poor oppressed minority in some homeless shelter and place them on the bench. I'm sure they have a rich experience to draw from to make decisions.

If you beleive that justice should be blind, and cases should be decided based on case law and not experience, then I hope you will contact your senator and ask them to vote against confirming Justice Sotomayor to the Supreme Court.

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