GOP Senators Mix Up Talking Points On Judge Sotomayor

August 05, 2009 6:17 pm ET

In a Senate floor speech on August 5, 2009, Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) argued that Judge Sonia Sotomayor's 17-year record as a mainstream jurist was "unpersuasive" because, "as a judge on the court of appeals, Judge Sotomayor has been constrained by Supreme Court precedent."  His statement contradicted Sen. Richard Burr's (R-NC) claim earlier today that Sotomayor has a record of ignoring judicial precedent.

Sen. Brownback: Sotomayor's Record Is Not Important Because She Was "Constrained" By Precedent

Sen. Brownback:

Judge Sotomayor attempted to assure senators that the real Sotomayor is reflected in her 17-year record on the bench.  I find this argument interesting but unpersuasive because, as a judge on the court of appeals, Judge Sotomayor has been constrained by Supreme Court precedent.  That's the position she held.  Her judicial record tells us very little about who the real Sotomayor is [sic] when on the Supreme Court. [Brownback Floor Speech, 8/5/09; emphasis added]

Sen. Burr: Sotomayor's Record Is Extremely Important Because She Failed To Adhere To Precedent

Sen. Burr:

More important than the Ivy League schools and the length of public service, however, is the judicial record of the nominee and the decisions she's mad during her tenure on the bench [...] I believe a judge's role is to adhere to the longstanding case precedent and to apply the law according to a strict interpretation of the Constitution.  Let me say that again because I believe it's too important to go unheard.  I believe a judge's role is to adhere to the longstanding case precedent and to apply the law according to the strict interpretation of the United States Constitution [...]  As I've said, I'm troubled by her decisions in cases where she's appeared to rely on something other than well settled law to come to a decision.  My fear is that she was unable to separate her personal belief system from that of the letter of the law. [Burr Floor Speech, 8/5/09; emphasis added]

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