Sotomayor's 2005 comments about court could draw ire

Charlotte ObserverMay 26, 2009 

While Latinos in Charlotte celebrated the nomination of the first Latino to the Supreme Court, a statement Sonia Sotomayor made in North Carolina may be grist for her confirmation hearings.

On Tuesday, President Obama nominated Sotomayor, a New Yorker of Puerto Rican descent, to the high court. If confirmed, the federal appeals court judge will be the first Latino and only the third woman to serve.

Latinos in Charlotte and nationwide saw the nomination as a sign of their community's growing influence and a reflection of the country's changing demographics.

Before she's confirmed though, Sotomayor likely will face questions about statements she made at a Duke University forum in 2005. Critics already are using them to paint her as a judge who will legislate from the bench.

In response to a question about the differences between appeals court and district court judges, Sotomayor said:

“All of the legal defense funds out there, they're looking for people with Court of Appeals experience. Because it is — Court of Appeals is where policy is made,” she said. “And I know, and I know, that this is on tape, and I should never say that. Because we don't 'make law,' I know.”

The audience laughed.

“Okay, I know. I know. I'm not promoting it, and I'm not advocating it. I'm, you know,” she said to more laughter.

“Having said that, the Court of Appeals is where, before the Supreme Court makes the final decision, the law is percolating. Its interpretation, its application.”

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