Sotomayor Confirmation Hearings: Opening Statement

If you think Sonia Sotomayor is a judicial activist and radical leftist, you’re not going to find evidence for it in her opening statement: Sotomayor hearings: The judge’s own opening statement.

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.

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