The criticism of Federal Judge Sonia Sotomayor began long before President Barack Obama selected her to fill an upcoming vacancy on the United States Supreme Court, with conservatives and libertarians saying she represents the far Left of the political spectrum. But Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) rejects what the critics are claiming, saying the nominee is a qualified jurist who has climbed quite a distance to get to where she is now.
"I really know a great deal about her background," said McCaskill in an interview with the Missourinet. "She has fought her way through a very difficult childhood in a public housing project to be valedictorian of her high school class and a scholarship to Princeton where she was magna cum laude and phi betta kappa and then onto Yale Law School where she was at the top of her class. And I like it that she spent five years in the courtroom as a prosecutor."
McCaskill acknowledges there will be attacks from the Right, but says that is to be expected. "I think that she’s going to have to have a tough skin and get through this," said McCaskill of the nominee.
"But there are 400 published opinions, so they’re going to find a couple that they can complain about. But the body of her work as a judge is as someone who understands the law, has great intellect, and who also respects the Constitution and knows that she’s not there to legislate."
McCaskill also points out that Judge Sotomayor was first appointed to the Federal Bench by then-President George H.W. Bush.
"President Bush wouldn’t have elevated somebody to a lifetime appointment that he didn’t think had his view in terms of many of the issues that were important to him," said Missouri’s junior Senator. "I’m not aware any President who would appoint someone that was way out of sync with their view of how the Constitution should be interpreted."
Senator Christopher "Kit" Bond (R-MO) did not comment publicly on the appointment, other than to issue a statement which read: "I look forward to reviewing Judge Sotomayor’s record and learning more from her hearings. Judge Sotomayor once said ‘I don’t believe that we should bend the Constitution under any circumstances,’ I agree that is how judges should rule and I will expect her to continue that view."
Judge Sotomayor has been selected to replace Associate Justice David Souter, who recently announced he is retiring from the High Court.
Download/Listen: Steve Walsh interviews Senator Claire McCaskill (10:00 MP3)
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