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Today's Question: Is Sotomayor a judicial activist?

Monday, July 13, 2009 | 12:14 p.m. CDT

When she was nominated on May 26 by President Barack Obama for the Supreme Court, Sonia Sotomayor's speeches and interviews came under more scrutiny by her opposition than did her 17 years of judicial rulings. In anticipation of her confirmation hearings beginning Monday, The Wall Street Journal cited Curt Levey, president of the Committee for Justice, as having said that Sotomayor's nomination "is not based on how she ruled, it's based on what she said."

That article discussed questions that have been raised about what some have said is Sotomayor's leniency toward minority agendas. Some say they have raised those questions based on comments Sotomayor has made, including one in which she said she hoped a "wise Latina" would arrive at a better decision than a white male judge.

The Journal also referenced a study from nonpartisan group the Congressional Research Service, which appeared to reflect favorably on Sotomayor's time as a judge. A New York-based advocacy group also published a review of 1,194 cases and indicated that Sotomayor voted in the majority in 98.2 percent of constitutional cases while she was on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. 

Whether she's really the radical activist judge her critics have said she is remains to be determined. Regardless of one's political viewpoints, the hearings have historic significance Sotomayor is the first Latina candidate to be nominated for the Supreme Court. 

Does Sotomayor promote judicial activism? 


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