During an American Bar Association event earlier this week, liberal U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor hinted that a string of legal “disappointments” may be in the offing for those who share her ideology, particularly in light of the panel’s recent decision allowing strict abortion restrictions in Texas to take full effect, and that direct action is needed to negate their effects, as the Washington Examiner reports.
Speaking to a group of law students, Sotomayor declared that because of the current conservative majority on the high court, it is incumbent upon concerned citizens and activists like themselves to assume responsibility for bringing about the changes they wish to see.
“There is going to be a lot of disappointment in the law, a huge amount. Look at me. Look at my dissents,” the justice asserted, likely referring in particular to the one she penned in the aforementioned Texas abortion case.
Urging her audience to do the work that she, from the bench, cannot, Sotomayor added, “You know, I can’t change Texas’s law, but you can, and everyone else who may or may not like it can go out there and be lobbying forces in changing laws that you don’t like.”
Seemingly acknowledging the imprudent nature of her commentary, given her seat on the highest court of the land, Sotomayor noted, “I’m pointing out to that when I shouldn’t because they told me I shouldn’t,” a fact which takes on particular relevance given that she and her colleagues are slated to hear a potentially pivotal abortion case later in the current term.
In a scathing critique of the justice’s observations before the group, Newsweek opinion editor Josh Hammer stated that it is “difficult, likely impossible, to interpret these comments as anything other than Sotomayor actively encouraging the ABA audience to work to alter or repeal” the Texas abortion law, something which the canons of judicial ethics would normally command her recusal from any further litigation related to that statute.
As such, Hammer argues, the outspoken justice offered candid insight into the way in which liberals on the bench tend to view their role and that of the courts in general, namely, to effectuate political aims under the cover of judicial authority.
The answer for the right, says Hammer, is for conservative jurists to do their best to hold fast to their “formalist” commitment to constitutional principles while also remaining open to “a more holistic, morally imbued and substantive conception of the relevant text, structure and history” of the law.
Adoption of Hammer’s assertion that conservative judges at all levels “must get comfortable with a jurisprudence unabashedly rooted in the morality and justice of the American Founding and substantively oriented to reclaiming that morality and justice from those who seek to destroy it” may indeed prove critical to the survival of the Republic.