Mr. Whelan fills in a weak area in Judge Sontomayor's knowledge, and offers a directory to her statements and opinions. [Quotes are edited.]
Judge Sotomayor gave a speech in January 2001, and provided this account. She explained her problems being confirmed to the Second Circuit court:Senate Republican leaders believed that I was a potential for the Supreme Court one day. They also believed that I am a liberal, and therefore did not want the nomination to go through. I don’t know what liberal means.Sotomayor was an assistant district attorney in 1983. Evidently she knew what “liberal” meant when quoted in a New York Times article.I had more problems during my first year in the office with the low-grade crimes such as shoplifting, prostitution, and minor assault cases. In large measure, in those cases you were dealing with socio-economic crimes, crimes that could be the product of the environment and of poverty.Sotomayor's phrase "No matter how liberal I am" is the same as saying "Even though I am very liberal".
Once I started doing felonies, it became less hard. No matter how liberal I am, I’m still outraged by crimes of violence. Regardless of whether I can sympathize with the causes that lead these individuals to do these crimes, the effects are outrageous.
Among other things, Sotomayor understood back then that a liberal "sympathizes with the causes that lead these individuals to do these crimes" and is inclined to explain crimes as "the product of the environment and of poverty."
But I think that I can offer Sotomayor even more help on what liberal means, at least in the context of judging.
A liberal judge thinks that it is proper to indulge her own identity in deciding cases.
A liberal judge celebrates "the importance of indefiniteness in the law" and the "unpredictability" that results when a judge "develops a novel approach" that "pushes the law in a new direction."
A liberal judge resorts to shenanigans to bury the claims of white firefighters that they have been discriminated against on the basis of their race.
A liberal judge favors campaign-finance restrictions over the First Amendment.
A liberal judge embraces novel equal-protection theories that would compromise public safety.
A liberal judge publicly cheerleads liberal politicians.
A liberal judge excuses her own acts of discrimination.
A liberal judge thinks that Supreme Court justices are entitled to make policy.
A liberal judge hides her support for racial quotas behind gauzy euphemisms.
A liberal judge commends lawsuits that promote abortion and illegal immigration and that undermine welfare reform.