The Sotomayor Hearings: Day One

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Following is the prepared text of Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s opening statement before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday, as released by the White House:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I also want to thank Senators Schumer and Gillibrand for that kind introduction.

In recent weeks, I have had the privilege and pleasure of meeting eighty-nine gracious Senators, including all the members of this Committee. I thank you for the time you have spent with me. Our meetings have given me an illuminating tour of the fifty states and invaluable insights into the American people.

There are countless family members, friends, mentors, colleagues, and clerks who have done so much over the years to make this day possible. I am deeply appreciative for their love and support. I want to make one special note of thanks to my mom. I am here today because of her aspirations and sacrifices for both my brother Juan and me. Mom, I love that we are sharing this together. I am very grateful to the President and humbled to be here today as a nominee to the United States Supreme Court.

The progression of my life has been uniquely American. My parents left Puerto Rico during World War II. I grew up in modest circumstances in a Bronx housing project. My father, a factory worker with a third grade education, passed away when I was nine years old.

On her own, my mother raised my brother and me. She taught us that the key to success in America is a good education. And she set the example, studying alongside my brother and me at our kitchen table so that she could become a registered nurse. We worked hard. I poured myself into my studies at Cardinal Spellman High School, earning scholarships to Princeton University and then Yale Law School, while my brother went to medical school. Our achievements are due to the values that we learned as children, and they have continued to guide my life’s endeavors. I try to pass on this legacy by serving as a mentor and friend to my many godchildren and students of all backgrounds.

Over the past three decades, I have seen our judicial system from a number of different perspectives – as a big-city prosecutor, a corporate litigator, a trial judge and an appellate judge. My first job after law school was as an assistant District Attorney in New York. There, I saw children exploited and abused. I felt the suffering of victims’ families torn apart by a loved one’s needless death. And I learned the tough job law enforcement has protecting the public safety. In my next legal job, I focused on commercial, instead of criminal, matters. I litigated issues on behalf of national and international businesses and advised them on matters ranging from contracts to trademarks.

My career as an advocate ended—and my career as a judge began—when I was appointed by President George H.W. Bush to the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. As a trial judge, I decided over four hundred and fifty cases, and presided over dozens of trials, with perhaps my best known case involving the Major League Baseball strike in 1995.

After six extraordinary years on the district court, I was appointed by President William Jefferson Clinton to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. On that Court, I have enjoyed the benefit of sharing ideas and perspectives with wonderful colleagues as we have worked together to resolve the issues before us. I have now served as an appellate judge for over a decade, deciding a wide range of Constitutional, statutory, and other legal questions.

Throughout my seventeen years on the bench, I have witnessed the human consequences of my decisions. Those decisions have been made not to serve the interests of any one litigant, but always to serve the larger interest of impartial justice.

In the past month, many Senators have asked me about my judicial philosophy. It is simple: fidelity to the law. The task of a judge is not to make the law – it is to apply the law. And it is clear, I believe, that my record in two courts reflects my rigorous commitment to interpreting the Constitution according to its terms; interpreting statutes according to their terms and Congress’s intent; and hewing faithfully to precedents established by the Supreme Court and my Circuit Court. In each case I have heard, I have applied the law to the facts at hand.

The process of judging is enhanced when the arguments and concerns of the parties to the litigation are understood and acknowledged. That is why I generally structure my opinions by setting out what the law requires and then by explaining why a contrary position, sympathetic or not, is accepted or rejected. That is how I seek to strengthen both the rule of law and faith in the impartiality of our justice system. My personal and professional experiences help me listen and understand, with the law always commanding the result in every case.

Since President Obama announced my nomination in May, I have received letters from people all over this country. Many tell a unique story of hope in spite of struggles. Each letter has deeply touched me. Each reflects a belief in the dream that led my parents to come to New York all those years ago. It is our Constitution that makes that Dream possible, and I now seek the honor of upholding the Constitution as a Justice on the Supreme Court.

I look forward in the next few days to answering your questions, to having the American people learn more about me, and to being part of a process that reflects the greatness of our Constitution and of our nation. Thank you.

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The Washington Post has coverage of the live blogging from the hearings themselves.

Should Cheney Be Investigated?

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“I agree with the president. We should move forward.”

— Sen. John McCain – Meet The Press – July 13th 2009

I disagree with both Senator McCain and President Obama in regards to complete investigations into any violations of US Law during the previous administration.

In a country of laws and values there must be consequences for violating those standards set forth by this nation. If we will not so much as investigate any illegalities that may, or may not, have been committed by former Vice-President Richard Cheney while in office then we as a nation stand for nothing but protecting the powerful at the cost to the whole.

It is clear to me that Republicans want to avoid the pursuit of justice. If there was no illegal actions done, then I would think Cheney and those who support him would enjoy having their day in court to exonerate the claims that violations of the law took place. The investigations would serve as a chance to rebuff the claim that all their actions were within the bounds of the law during their terms.

The fact that these individuals are so vehemently opposed to any investigations seems to denote that they in fact may believe that something might arise from said investigations.

I believe, in justice for all. There is no position in our society that is beyond reproach of the law. If the Bush White House, or any person in the government services, broke the standards of law they should be punished for this violation.

To state otherwise, is to stand against justice.

The O’Reilly Factor Disgraces The Nation

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Lara Ingram just referred to the President of The United States as having a “notoriously anti-life agenda.”

I am sick of these disgraceful and partisan pundits using their platforms to sling arrows and rocks instead of intelligent commentary.

The war-mongering and anti-gay agendas of conservatives aside, this is a perfect example of what equates to simply irresponsible broadcasting on behalf of FOX News.

If this is the standard of debate set upon me I would like to restate myself that The O’Reilly Factor is a format that supports domestic terrorism against US citizens by means of untrue and inflamatory rhetoric designed to specifically urge Americans toward acts of violence against other Americans.

 They are not only Anti-Choice, they are Anti-Freedom.

Let the true patriots stand tall against this dangerous and unintelligent programming.

 Whatever opinion a person holds of President Barack Obama, there is no excuse for this kind of hateful and untrue horse-play. Shame on the network.

Tracking The Stimulus Money

The most obvious choice for a tax-payer who is interested in learning more about the stimulus money and how it is being spent is Recovery.Gov.

There is also the addition of the website Recovery.Org to the mix.

But the most open-sourced transparency and best place, in my opinion, to address this issue while using the internet as a source would be at the George Mason Unversity’s Mercatus Center who recently released the website StimulusWatch.Org.

If you desire to take a more direct approach to tracking the funds you should visit ShovelWatch.Org.

Druge Report Cover Slanders Obama

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Today on The Drudge Report we see the latest example of bias and slander against the president by means of using a misleading photo of Barack Obama above the title of the wbsite.

ABC has the whole video, in which you can see what truly transpired.

Yahoo News is where the link provided by Drudge leads you, but the headline “The Second Stimulus” has nothing to do with the article on Yahoo from which this image originated from.

Mike Drudge knows exactly what he is doing by only posting that photo above and then linking into an article that not enabled with the video version thus the ‘whole story.’

It is clear to me, and everyone who did more than giggle at the cover piece, that Drudge will use any excuse to slander and degrade the image of President Barack Obama. Even at the cost of his own credibility.

Todd Venezia of The Washington Post managed to squeeze the truth of the matter into the very last paragraph of his piece.

It was in fact Sarkozy taking a look at the young lady’s behind, and not Obama. But such facts mean nothing to people care to do nothing but demean Obama’s character with their every breath.

The only person affliated with FOX News to accurately report on this issue has been Greta Van Susteren. Further enforcing the concept that FOX News is a network mainly dedicated to this style of misleading coverage of news events and utterly biased content.

eTrade and the Recession

I have been intentionally over-paying those little everyday expenses like tipping and things like not using the local ‘insider’ coupon clip.

It’s been awhile for me personally since I bought a product online, but supporting eTrade is another way is try to do your little part to shoot some life into the economy while your online.

I plan to buy the next gift for someone special via online.

Net-Trade is complex for the ordinary consumer to understand but there are multiple ways to support domain hosts, web loggers, local businesses and local markets.

Change starts at home.

Making your home more energy efficient in every way possible is a sound investment. Energy costs are not likely to drop in any foreseeable future.

This is just one of many steps I suggest you take to affect real change in your local environment and community.

The federal government can only do so much. Each bailout and stimulus they devise will ultimately fail if the Consumer Markets do not participate.

We need to take the time to educate ourselves enough as citizens to better understand our role at this stage in our national economy.

We all can make some difference.

We all can effect some amount change within our respective spheres.

Sara Palin Quits Her Job

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Former Republican Vice-Presidential candidate, and soon to be former Governor of Alaska, Sara Palin has decided to walk away from her responsibilities as governor as well as her obligations to those who voted her into office.

Whatever her reasons may be she is electing to be extremely vague and elusive, leaving the speculation running wild. It’s possible the ethics probes are the reason. It’s possible she is fed up with political partisan bickering and propagandizing.

Whatever the reason the fact remains that this representative is walking away from her responsibilities and setting a terrible example to the nation in terms of governorship.