A video of Court of Appeals Judge Sonia Sotomayor, reportedly on Obama’s short list to replace David Souter on the Supreme Court, has come to light (video and transcript via Volokh Conspiracy). Sotomayor stated as follows during a panel discussion at Duke Law School in 2005:

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. 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. [audience laughter] Okay, I know. I know. I’m not promoting it, and I’m not advocating it. I’m . . you know. [audience laughter]

Here is the segment of the video:


Obviously, this video will raise concerns about Sotomayor being an activist judge who wants to make, rather than apply or interpret, the law. In other words, a perfect Democrat nominee. And a Republican nightmare. I wonder how the Great Democratic Hope, Arlen Specter, will react.

I don’t think these remarks in and of themselves are a deal breaker for Sotomayor. There obviously is a lot more to the woman than an off-handed comment. Sotomayor obviously was aware that the words were being recorded, and tried to laugh her way out of it.

Said in jest or not, the video sure doesn’t help Sotomayor’s prospects. To quote another Supreme Court contender, Deval Patrick, as interpreted by Barack Obama, these were words, just words.
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