Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Audacity of Hypocrisy: Mike Huckabee Says Appointing "Maria" Sotomayor Will Lead to an "Extreme Court"

I will assume that Mike Huckabee meant to say "Sonia," rather than "Maria," in the original version of his diatribe condemning Obama's decision to nominate Sonia Sotomayor as a Supreme Court Justice. But it is really difficult to escape the irony of Huckabee calling Sotomayor an extremist.

Huckabee blasts Obama for picking Sotomayor, arguing that:
Sotomayor comes from the far left and will likely leave us with something akin to the "Extreme Court" that could mark a major shift. The notion that appellate court decisions are to be interpreted by the "feelings" of the judge is a direct affront of the basic premise of our judicial system that is supposed to apply the law without personal emotion. If she is confirmed, then we need to take the blindfold off Lady Justice.
Oh, the melodrama! I do not accept Huckabee's characterization of Sotomayor's judicial philosophy. Nevertheless, I will hold aside my objections in order to focus on Minister Huckabee's deep hypocrisy.

Huckabee claims that appointing Sotomayor will bring bias and extremism to the Court. But his own views of the Constitution are far more dangerous and unjustifiable than anything in Sotomayor's background. During the 2008 Republican primaries, Huckabee made an interesting argument about the Constitution. He said that it should be amended to comply with "God's standards":
[Some of my opponents] do not want to change the Constitution, but I believe it's a lot easier to change the constitution than it would be to change the word of the living God, and that's what we need to do is to amend the Constitution so it's in God's standards rather than try to change God's standards. . . .
Huckabee has the audacity to call Sotomayor an extremist, but he wants to undo over two centuries of constitutional law that precludes the establishment of religion. I will take Sotomayor's "empathy" and proven record of accomplishment over Huckabee's desire to amend the Constitution in order to impose his view of "God's standards" upon the rest of the country. As my colleague Professor Jamie Raskin so aptly stated, replying to a fellow Maryland State Senator who invoked the Bible in order to oppose same-sex marriage:
"People place their hand on the Bible and swear to uphold the Constitution. They don't put their hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible."
Huckabee could learn a lot from Raskin.


Mark G said...

Huckabee's a knucklehead. That said, I figure a writer who describes Roberts and Alito as "extreme" should be philosophial when the other side apples the same label to a candidate from his side.

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

Sotomayer is not as far to the left as Alito is to the right. She was appointed to the District Court by Bush I.

I am not sure I called Alito and Roberts "extreme," but they are pretty far to the right. Ginsburg and Stevens are the two leftists on the court. Breyer and Souter are more "liberal." Neither Ginsburg nor Stevens, however, is as leftist as Brennan, Marshall, or Douglas.

Almost 40 years of Republican political dominance at the national level gave rise to this. I fully accept the fact that Supreme Court nominations are a political matter. Accordingly, if the country goes for social conservatism for a long period of time, this will lead to the successful appointment of deep social conservatives. I am not a social conservative, but as an intellectual principle, there's nothing to dispute about the nature of the process.

Sotomayor, however, has not judged in the mold of a leftist. There's nothing in her record to demonstrate that. Even if you could describe Ricci as leftist (which I dispute), that's only one case out of over 200. That's just not enough evidence.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Hutchinson: In a comment to your earlier post "Sotomayor = Supreme Court Pick", you wrote:

"The 4 extreme conservatives equate any race consciousness with Jim Crow. So there is no need to analyze them."

Don't tell me, let me guess: I am not reading the "nuance" and "subtlety" in this comment properly...Bah.

I wish you would give us the criteria that lets you determine that "Sotomayor is not as far to the left as Alito is to the right." Beyond a snap judgment, I mean. Sotomayor hasn't even gone onto the Court yet. How on earth can you tell? If you can, your talents are wasted in law. Start running a mutual fund, your foresight will carry you far.

I'm a Republican, and I detest Mike Huckabee's notions and ideas. Call him a demagogue, and I will not dissent. But one of his ideas beats yours handily: he wants to execute his ideas by amending the Constitution. Such a process would involve the citizenry, and would require a great deal of effort. It would likely fail. But it would be a) honest, and b) place the responsibility for change where it should be, with the citizenry, not with a clique that has no room for the draftees of the court, as opposed to the officers. Such citizen involvement can go wrong, as Proposition 8 in California shows. But that was provoked by the zanies on the California Supreme Bench, who saw the difficulties gay marriage was having with the California legislature passing it, only to have Arnold veto it. So they decided to help it along, and got slapped across the face with a dead fish for their pains. I am not familiar enough with California law to know if a Proposition amending the California Constitution can be repealed by a subsequent Proposition as the federal constitution allow federal amendments to be repealed. I hope so. Otherwise, that leaves the field to that notorious social liberal, Theodore Olson, Geo. W.'s Solicitor General, to try to have the US Supreme Zanies butt in and overturn it by writing gay marriage into the federal constitution. I am dismayed that Olson doesn't see the explosion this would cause. ROE is a swell example of judicial arrogance causing a suppurating sore on this nation. Olson's case would do the same for gay marriage, reversing the trend today to allow gay marriage by the states, and adding a new litmus test to ROE for nominees. I admit, gays who want to get married would disagree, just as women who wanted to vote in 1911 did. But women suffrage finally did come nationally, and once in was accepted in a way that ROE never has been.

Sincerely yours,
Gregory Koster
(not of CUNY)
You write: "Accordingly, if the country goes for social conservatism for a long period of time, this will lead to the successful appointment of deep social conservatives."

Mind telling us how the "deep social conservatives" let through ROE? Or LAWRENCE v. TEXAS? Or the decision that allows flag burning as protected speech? To call this "the country going for social conservatism" is silly, draining the meaning out of words.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on an outstanding blog.
I sincerely hope that your work is suffering as a result. Otherwise you'd be making these full-time bloggers look quite ordinary.

Mark G said...

You hope our host's work is suffering? Dude, cut back on the caffien.

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

Anonymous, I might have to agree with Mark on this one...Flattery notwithstanding, I need my work the thrive! It is....

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