May 28, 2009

Do we know what Sotomayor thinks about abortion rights?

Some people assume Obama wouldn't have picked her if she doesn't support abortion rights, but is that really the case? White House spokesman, Robert Gibbs, has said that Obama “did not ask... specifically” about her position. It may be politically useful that her opinion isn't known, and yet that may mean that she'll turn out to be a surprise (as Souter, the man she's replacing was in his time).
None of the cases in Judge Sotomayor’s record dealt directly with the legal theory underlying Roe v. Wade — that the Constitution contains an unwritten right to privacy in reproductive decisions as a matter of so-called substantive due process.
Of course, a Court of Appeals judge is bound to Supreme Court precedent, which includes that theory, but a case applying it might reveal how enthusiastic a judge is about it.
In a 2002 case, she wrote an opinion upholding the Bush administration policy of withholding aid from international groups that provide or promote abortion services overseas.

“The Supreme Court has made clear that the government is free to favor the anti-abortion position over the pro-choice position,” she wrote, “and can do so with public funds.”
That says nothing beyond the simple fact that she was bound by precedent and powerless to overrule it.
In a 2007 case, she strongly criticized colleagues on the court who said that only women, and not their husbands, could seek asylum based on China’s abortion policy. “The termination of a wanted pregnancy under a coercive population control program can only be devastating to any couple, akin, no doubt, to the killing of a child,” she wrote, also taking note of “the unique biological nature of pregnancy and special reverence every civilization has accorded to child-rearing and parenthood in marriage.”
That is pretty consistent with both the pro-life and the abortion rights position. (In fact, it's a good illustration of why we shouldn't say that those who favor abortion rights are "pro-abortion.") Someone supporting abortion rights might object to valuing the father's interests equally with the mother's, and someone who is pro-life might object to seeing abortion from the perspective of the parents and not the unborn child. Still, she's mostly using pro-choice language: she calls the unborn child a "pregnancy," and she equates it with "a child" (i.e., a born child) when it is "wanted." But then again, this is the language of the law embodied in the Supreme Court decisions that bind her.
[I]n a 2008 case, she wrote an opinion vacating a deportation order for a woman who had worked in an abortion clinic in China. Although Judge Sotomayor’s decision turned on a technicality, her opinion described in detail the woman’s account of how she would be persecuted in China because she had once permitted the escape of a woman who was seven months pregnant and scheduled for a forced abortion. In China, to allow such an escape was a crime, the woman said.
All you "empathy" opponents — think about that.

Then there's the fact that Sotomayor was raised as a Roman Catholic. (Indeed, she will be the 6th Catholic on the Court.)
... Hispanics include a higher percentage of abortion opponents than many other parts of the Democratic Party’s coalition. Judge Sotomayor’s parents moved from Puerto Rico.

“At the very least, she grew up in a culture that didn’t hold the pro-life position in contempt,” [said teven Waldman, the editor in chief of BeliefNet.com].
David Savage and Peter Nicholas note:
Sotomayor... has listed herself as a member of Childbirth Connection, a group that helps young mothers prepare for caring for a baby.

Two years ago -- in a case of concern to women's groups -- she joined an appeals court ruling that upheld a school district's policy requiring teachers to notify a parent if they saw that a girl was pregnant. The court said that the teachers had no legal basis for objecting to the policy....

If Obama was seeking to avoid an abortion battle during the confirmation process, Sotomayor would seem a logical choice because of her lack of record on the issue. Another finalist to replace Souter, Judge Diane P. Wood from Chicago, had a strong public record of supporting abortion rights. Wood dissented a decade ago when the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Wisconsin's and Illinois' bans on what opponents call "partial birth abortion."

65 comments:

traditionalguy said...

Her family obviously loved its children. To be born and raised in that family, and to be educated in Roman Catholic schools, would have created in her soul a great respect for mercy, for children, for a womens great value, and for submission to legitimate authority. The opposition forces to Sotomayor may turn out to be the Progressives who hate all of those character traits. Stay tuned.

traditionalguy said...

Also, Trooper has the picture of Sotomayor at the Ball Park hugging some kids. Not a hint in her eye of her desiring their delayed abortion.

Ralph said...

“The Supreme Court has made clear that the government is free to favor the anti-abortion position over the pro-choice position,” she wrote
I wouldn't call that neutral language.
Is anyone pro-forced abortion, besides the Chinese govt?

MadisonMan said...

Those are her nephews in that picture.

traditionalguy said...

The issue is whether or not abortion is only a medical procedure to eliminate inconvenient growths. Any hint otherwise is deemed to be profoundly Pro-life.

goesh said...

- some nephews need killing, others don't, its a matter of principle here...

Michael Hasenstab said...

Does anyone seriously think that Sotomayor may be pro-life? Seriously?

If there was so much as a wisp of a hint that she was pro-life, the nomination would not have been made.

Compelling life story, being a woman and being a Latina would be instantly trumped by a pro-abortion white male nominee if she was thought to be pro-life.

SCOTUS nominations are about abortion, no matter the party that makes the nomination, and no matter how the nomination is cloaked in "life story", "empathy", or any other such descriptor.

traditionalguy said...

Michael...Do you suppose God could use the Obama Boys' Hispanic voter ploy to slip onto the Supreme Court a stealth pro-life moderate? Let's keep quiet and not tell anyone.

Ralph said...

She's a hugger? Bleuh!

Michael Hasenstab said...

Michael...Do you suppose God could use the Obama Boys' Hispanic voter ploy to slip onto the Supreme Court a stealth pro-life moderate? Let's keep quiet and not tell anyone.

If only that was the case.

Google "Sotomayor" and "abortion". Multiple articles with the same theme pop up. "Sotomayor may be secretly pro-life".

A skeptical person might believe that the stories came from whispers to reporters by WH staffers in order to convey the idea that Sotomayor could be a stealth conservative, at least as far as abortion is concerned.

It's all preparing the battlefield for the hearings.

Nonsense.

William said...

I grew up as a white male in a housing project. This experience has made me not just wiser but, frankly, better than you. My empathy and insight into the contradictions inherent in the abortion issue are unique and invaluable. At this time, I do not choose to give those views but rest assured my views are the correct views. If you find any problems with my views I earnestly beseech you to look inward at whatever class or cultural values that have led you to the logical impossibility of disagreeing with me. Please be aware that you are all in my prayers. As noted above, I am a much better person than you, and God listens to my prayers. I am sure that if you do some honest soul searching, the intercession of my prayers will cause a merciful God to give you the enlightenment necessary to agree with me.

Lance said...

Pres. Bush didn't ask for Justice Souter's views on abortion. I think he was surprised when Souter aligned himself with Breyer et. al. It'd be kinda fitting if Pres. Obama didn't ask for Justice Sotomayor's views and found her even occasionally aligning her decisions with Roberts, Alito, Thomas, and Scalia.

Flexo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Flexo said...

it's a good illustration of why we shouldn't say that those who favor abortion rights are "pro-abortion".

Avoidance of one extreme does not require embracing the other extreme.

To be sure, a great number of those who favor "abortion rights" (regardless of whether such is supportable in the text of the Constitution or not) can properly be called "pro-choice" -- perhaps most -- but it is UNDENIABLE that there are also those who are, in fact, "pro-abortion."

For example, the Chinese government or abortionists or those who make money off abortion or those who kill those children who are born alive in the midst of an intended abortion or those who get incensed over someone suggesting that the choice be life ("choose life" license plates).

Just as Ted Bundy was pro-killing pretty young women, just as Hitler was pro-killing Jews, just as some get their sadistic kicks by standing outside prisons cheering the execution of some prisoner, just as Jack Kevorkian is pro-killing those who might be sick, so too are some people undeniably PRO-ABORTION.

(On the flip-side, not everyone who opposes abortion is "pro-life." There are some who are, instead, merely "anti-abortion," in that they have no worldly idea or reasoned basis for their opposition (a good number of Republican politicians fall under this classification). The "pro-lifer," on the other hand, opposes abortion or euthanasia or assisted suicide or most capital punishment on the reasoned basis of protecting and respecting human life.)

traditionalguy said...

William...you must be one of the Justices who first discovered Roe v. Wade was needed to protect women from a responsible life. But were you raised in a loving Roman Catholic family and Schooled by Trooper's church? All trial lawyers learn instinctively from a few voir dire answers and life experiences of the panel who to leave on the jury and who to strike off. It takes experience with people and personality types, and guts to decide without all the information. You might have to be be struck, but Sonia would stay on, and likely be chosen the Foreperson.

Sigerson said...

Sotomayor will never vote to overturn Roe v. Wade. That is absolutely clear. She may waffle on the margins with respect to late-term abortion restrictions, parental notification, etc., but those are very hard decisions and I don't think anyone of good conscience wouldn't struggle with them.

Ralph said...

Foreperson. I may vomit.

veni vidi vici said...

I find it amusing that Gibbsy and the other Obama hordes are apparently able to successfully spread a meme that Sotomayor "may be secretly pro-life". What a load of horse-dung! And you, a law professor, falling for it!

I don't know what to think of this lady Sotomayor, other than she's somewhat mannish in her facial appearance, which is neither here nor there. She's said some profoundly dumb things in her public speaking career, but then who hasn't? The most bothersome thing that's come up so far is that apparently in 2002 or 2004 she issued an opinion in which she allegedly found there is no individual right to own a firearm under the constitution. That's just willful misreading, if it is in fact what the opinion said.

All the same, I'm left where I always am during these confirmations of the other side's nominees: how much worse could she be than (a) the guy she's replacing; and (b) the rest of these folks.

I remain confident that the center will hold. Despite the apparently hyper-conservative reactionary 5-4/6-3 Bushie court, things never got so far out into "reich-wingnut" land that the lefties' criticisms garnered the scintilla of truth necessary to resonate, so I'm still from Missouri when it comes to things going that way leftwards under the Obama administration's court.

David said...

All she has to do is say "Bound by precedent." Bingo. Roe lives.

TMink said...

Pro life people do not write "anit-abortion position."

Trey

TMink said...

Besides, the hope for the unborn is not in the legislative or the executive or the judicial branch, it is in the hearts of Americans.

Trey

Kirby Olson said...

I realized last evening that all I know about her is one or two sentences. And I sentenced her based on that! I was a tiny bit ashamed.

Now I feel a tiny bit more empathetic (if it's possible for me, a sub-human white male). Maybe she's a Catholic, or has some trace element of Catholic phrasing in her, which would mean I could possibly be really empathetic (if that's possible).

SaintCroix said...

I think the Republicans on the judiciary committee should read some language from Carhart I and Carhart II and then ask her if she knows what a person is.

SaintCroix said...

From Carhart II:

"Dr. Haskell went in with forceps and grabbed the baby's legs and pulled them down into the birth canal. Then he delivered the baby's body and the arms--everything but the head. The doctor kept the head right inside the uterus..."

"The baby's little fingers were clasping and unclasping, and his little feet were kicking. Then the doctor stuck the scissors in the back of his head, and the baby's arms jerked out, like a startle reaction, like a flinch, like a baby does when he thinks he is going to fall."

"The doctor opened up the scissors, stuck a high-powered suction tube into the opening, and sucked the baby's brains out. Now the baby went completely limp..."

hdhouse said...

ahhh to lead the single issue life colored in black and white...what a luxury.

NKVD said...

hdhouse wrote something, but it's not English. Something about black and white colors.

Dude, you really are slipping.

As for a democrat being opposed to abortion, I suppose it is possible, but it is not probable. Liberals worship at the altar of abortion.

hdhouse said...

NKVD...better than that your altar of stupidity....

Palladian said...

"ahhh to lead the single issue life colored in black and white...what a luxury."

Stop bragging about yourself.

NKVD said...

Wow, hdhouse thinks he is smart. S M R T!

Try again, in English, gramps.

ryanbiddulph said...

I commend her rise to a Supreme Court nomination but not her interpretation of the Constitution. She is an inspirational story but is too left for my taste.

Synova said...

If talking like minorities and women have some special insight above that available to white men is the expected sort of small-talk in Sotomayor's professional community... it's very likely that the opposite is true of anything like pro-life small-talk. If she is secretly pro-life, it makes sense it would be a secret.

As for the Catholic bit... Geraldine Ferraro claimed to be against abortion *personally* but most definitely pro-choice or pro-abortion as far as "law of the land" was concerned. Granted, she was a politician and not a judge making a statement about the constitution demanding the right to choose after a pregnancy was already underway.

I agree that not all of those who think that abortion should be legal are pro-abortion. It's entirely possible for a person to say, "I hate this, but it must be allowed under our Constitution." We do that on speech issues all the time, at least we did before the big pushes toward criminalizing "hate". In any case, it *is* possible to have a personal opinion about right and wrong that is different than your personal opinion about what ought to be legal and illegal. So it's possible for a person to favor legal abortion and not be *for* abortions.

OTOH, again... some people really are PRO-abortion and it's silly not to say so. Some people see abortion as a positive thing, as a simple choice to be made that is of little consequence unless someone decides to carry their baby to term, in which case there are negative consequences. The clear *right* choice is abortion... if you're poor, or young, or on a career track, or old, or single or married to the father.

Thus we have "I had an abortion" T-shirts and ministers preaching about the "blessing" that it is when a healthy married woman with means to support a child decides to abort it instead.

Well... one minister, but still...

Titusisfeelinggreatthankyouforasking said...

As an expert on the law I believe there should be no litmus test.

Titusisfeelinggreatthankyouforasking said...

When is her dykiness going to be explored?

traditionalguy said...

As an un-aborted baby, I may be prejudiced a little. Everybody's babyhood needs some attempts by society to protect him/her, if at least starting 6 months after conception. A moderate position can be reached here. Only the Death Camps for Profit deny that truth. A society where that basic restraint upon murder is "illegal" is ultimately not going to be allowed to survive itself.

garage mahal said...

As an un-aborted baby, I may be prejudiced a little. Everybody's babyhood needs some attempts by society to protect him/her, if at least starting 6 months after conception..

How bout 6 months after delivery?

veni vidi vici said...

Harry Reid said last night that President Obama has the "biggest heart in the world".

Obama is the de facto CEO of GM as of next week, when it is rechristened "Gov't Motors" and he's in charge of 72.5% of the faltering behemoth.

In light of the foregoing, and under the terms of the current administration's rule, Obama is the only Car-heart that matters. Anyone that thinks otherwise should be ashamed, and then shunned, ostracized and re-educated.

Thomas said...

It is the case that Obama wouldn't have picked her if he had doubts about her stance on abortion rights. And so he doesn't have doubts. And he shouldn't have doubts.

Look again at that 2002 case: She says that the Supreme Court requires the result, not the constitution. And she opposes the "anti-abortion" position with the "pro-choice" position, which isn't exactly a neutral description of the two.

Ralph said...

some people really are PRO-abortion and it's silly not to say so
The North Carolina govt subsidizes abortion for poor women, yet NC is usually a red state presidentially. Let's reduce the surplus population. Cheaper than workhouses.
How bout 6 months after delivery?
Why not 18 years? Shape up, you brat!

Synova said...

And of course "poor women" is sometimes a euphemism for "women of color."

traditionalguy said...

Garage...If you had had my older brother, you would have to had to be guarded for the first 6 years.

garage mahal said...

Good question Ralph. Where is the cutoff line where we stop caring deeply and cease having drag out fights about it, and when the baby is, well, on it's own. The first day in this world?

phx said...

veni vedi vici said:

I don't know what to think of this lady Sotomayor, other than she's somewhat mannish in her facial appearance, which is neither here nor there. She's said some profoundly dumb things in her public speaking career, but then who hasn't?Please do not tell me that the writer is completely oblivious to the irony of this one sentence following the other. That cannot be true.

veni vidi vici said...

PHX, with love. Do you make a "career" out of commenting on inane blogs like this one? I don't.

The other irony is the fact that this is about the 3000th thread about some facet of The Sotomayor Experience (SM) that immediately devolved into the same discussion already beaten to death on the other 2999 threads before it.

Delicious!

Me, I don't care about making a purposefully non-sequitor/dumb statement now and again because I'm not taking myself too seriously in these parts. There are enough toothgrinding malcontents in these comment threads (and we all know the main offenders) that can't get over their politics long enough to come to grips with the fact that they're insufferable bores; we don't need another of those.

So, anything substantive, any bon mots? Can we at least continue looking to you for a species of deconstructivist literary criticism of comments, then?

With bated breath,

Yours in pungent, cilia-searing flatulence,

VVV

Cedarford said...

Do we know what Sotomayor thinks about abortion rights?

Some people assume Obama wouldn't have picked her if she doesn't support abortion rights, but is that really the case? White House spokesman, Robert Gibbs, has said that Obama “did not ask... specifically” about her position. It may be politically useful that her opinion isn't known, and yet that may mean that she'll turn out to be a surprise (as Souter, the man she's replacing was in his time).
.



It's called "Plausible Deniability", Ann.

The President does not do what his lawyer and media consultant team of vetters are paid to do.

****************
I also wouldn't read anything into someone making a ruling that stays with the Sanctuary notion of Open Borders for almost anyone that claims refugee status. (Except old white guys who "lied" about their background to get an immigration visa then stayed in the US for 60 years as a model citizen).

Even pro-choice Chinese. As they add diversity, are victims of evil white oppressor males....and automatically add their empathy to make America better. It's not like we have to somehow control our Borders - given our limitless wealth we have China write checks to continue it. Or our "limitless resources", and jobs and state services for not only American citizens, but all who demand our "welcome in!".

peter hoh said...

How many justices have to be appointed by pro-life presidents to get Roe overturned?

peter hoh said...

The answer always seems to be just one more.

Omnibus Driver said...

Why is no one asking what her record of decisions is based on appeals? I read somewhere recently that she had a record of somewhere upwards of 40% of her decisions overturned. Isn't this the real measure of her judicial ability?

Putting all else aside, this is the question we should be asking.

EnigmatiCore said...

Sigerson, "but those are very hard decisions and I don't think anyone of good conscience wouldn't struggle with them."

I believe this means you are calling at least 8 of the 9 current SCOTUS Justices people of bad conscience.

hdhouse said...

NKVD....much smarter than you. I don't mind though. Your kinda fun in a knuckledragging sorta way.

You have nothing to say and nothing to add. This blog is for adults and it appears that your 4 seconds of fame have come and gone.

NKVD said...

While bragging about his intelligence hdhouse wrote "Your kinda fun in a knuckledragging sorta way."

Come on, old timer, you have got to be shitting me, right? You do know that "your" is not the same as "you're" - I mean, you being so smart and all.

phx said...

Vini Vidi Vici: You ask "PHX, with love. Do you make a 'career' out of commenting on inane blogs like this one?"NO! I make a "career" out of commenting on THIS inane blog! Do you know any other inane blogs where I can comment? Most inane blogs have very little patience for my monkeyshines.
I'm glad you aren't taking yourself too seriously! I won't either! I mean take either you or me too seriously. Could be the beginning of a most excellent relationship. I hear you about the toothgrinding malcontents - you have my permission to hoist my petards if I EVER sound like that.
And you know I picked your comment to comment on just because those two statements one upon the other BEGGED to be called out. In the interest of even a remotely entertaining response, please don't even think to spare me for my foolishness.
As for your comment "we all know the main offenders" - in fact I don't. The only two people I've really noticed yet are Palladian and titus-somebody-or-other. I haven't followed closely enough I guess.
Do tell - who are the main offenders?

Daryl said...

Liberals, leftists, and Stalinists have this in common: they follow the party line.

A rare bird like Joe Lieberman gets thrown out, even though he is very liberal on 90% of the issues.

Sotomayor is a left-wing liberal on 100% of the issues. That's the way to bet with lefties.

Meanwhile, on the right, where we still believe in individualism, you get things like Ted Olson agitating for gay marriage. When is the last time you saw a liberal agitate against gay marriage? They don't do it. Left-liberals don't break from the party line.

Especially on abortion. No dissent is tolerated.

veni vidi vici said...

PHX: Thank you for the kind and reciprocally absurd response to the clotted dung-on-a-windshield that I managed to shovel over the hedgerow onto your jalopy this afternoon. I agree that this could be good.

Personally, I wouldn't count Palladian as all that "offensive" in the context of our ongoing colloquy; perhaps it's because I agree with him more often than not, perhaps it's because he's wittier and visibly more intelligent/plugged in (not the vibrator, alas) than many others (and that visibly intelligent thing; maybe it's those tortoise-shell frames), perhaps it's a soft spot for well-spoken gay guys who don't wear their sexual persuasion as a defining badge of self-identity, I don't know.

And really, other guys who sometimes come across as stridently partisan, like Garage Mahal, will often turn around and surprise even the most jaded dung-shoveler like me with a slathering of inspired humanity that has nothing to do with winning the political argument, so it's tough to paint him and his guys into that corner.

I guess the most notorious fellas engaged in the pillow-biting nuisances around here tend to be those that come onto a thread just for the sake of telling someone they disagree with that they're full of blankety-blank, but use all of their 4-letter-word vocabulary to do it, and substitute really stale and unscathing insults of the 4th grader variety for substantive response to what's otherwise a civilized and rather erudite discussion. If you want examples, go to some of the earlier (yesterday) discussions on Sotomayor, where I recall at least one guy would touch base every few hours and run a chain of "responses" to other people's points in the manner of driving through a neighborhood at Christmastime, stopping in at each of the houseparties just long enough to fart incendiarily before leaving for the next.

Yes, it's that awful. The one or two that regularly offend in said manner aren't (or worse, *are*) aware of their obnoxiousness, tipping the scale from anger-making to tragedy.

Oh, and as for the petard-hoisting, I welcome your future advances when I earn same!

VVV

Roman said...

To be a good liberal is not to question the holy sacrament of abortion, but to revel in it. Just like Obama.

In other news, Ann please write a story how Obama is a secret moderate. And how he loves children and doesn't want more abortions.

Okay, back to reality.....

Micha Elyi said...

"(...we shouldn't say that those who favor abortion rights are "pro-abortion.")They call me pro-death penalty even though I don't support executions at the drop of a hat and that executions should be safe, legal, and rare. And legal executions are a darn sight less common than legal abortions.

People who want abortions to be legal are pro-abortion. Period. They can run but they can't hide from the plain meaning of words.

Ralph said...

Oh, please.

Uh-huh. Sure. Gotcha. Obambi's pick for supreme court is a stealth conservative.

Is anyone stupid enough to believe this planted story?

Michael said...

We don't know what she thinks about abortion.

But we sure as hell know we won't find out anything in the hearings to confirm her.

That's the Bork legacy, Dems. Enjoy it!

hdhouse said...

NVKD

the fact remains that you add nothing here except cheap seat insults and nonsense. this is for adults. kindly find something more in your league.

NKVD said...

hdhouse the illiterate is now reduced to repeating himself.

Change your Depends and scan up the comments - you keep posting the same thing over and over.

We are not amused by the stories you keep telling and we are not impressed by how you tell them. English, motherfucker, do you speak it?

Hoosier Daddy said...

the fact remains that you add nothing here except cheap seat insults and nonsense. this is for adults. kindly find something more in your league..

Coming from the guy who refers to anyone right of Lenin as 'uber-recht' or a brownshirt, that's really funny.

you betch'a

hdhouse said...

nkvd...i don't write for your amusement although the world does deserve a good laugh at your expense now and then.

the fact remains you don't have the game for this blog. pure and simple. no game.

NKVD said...

Uppercase impaired hdhouse trotted out his meme again, and this time I think he really means it. A person as smart as he is needs to keep responding and responding, using the same talking points over and over. Dude, you cannot write, you keep repeating yourself and you keep responding to my posts. Why?

hdhouse said...

oh I dunno. I held out hope you weren't as dumb as you sound.

NKVD said...

Interesting, but based on your inability to write standard English, I don't think anyone held out any hope for you, other than that you will die soon.

kentuckyliz said...

Given her strict close reading of the Second Amendment, she may decide there's no such thing as a right to privacy in the Constitution. It didn't exist until Griswold v CT anyway. She has gone back to 19th century precedents before, skipping 20th century ones. Who knows?

Plus she never had kids and may long for her womb to be filled and feel empathy for every embryo precious in the sight of God.