Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Joe Biden on Sotomayor

From ABAnews:

Vice President Joe Biden’s comments yesterday supporting Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s law enforcement credentials has some critics suggesting he went too far.

Speaking yesterday at a White House event to showcase prosecutor and police endorsements for Sotomayor, Biden noted that the Supreme Court nominee has experience as a prosecutor, Politico reports. “As you do your job, know that Judge Sotomayor has your back as well. And throughout this nominating process, I know you’ll have her back,” Biden said.

“She gets it. … She gets what you do every single day, day in and day out. She gets that one drug dealer on a corner, one rapist in a park is one too many and can terrorize and devastate a neighborhood,” Biden said. “And she has a record to prove that she gets it.”

Some conservatives and one legal ethicist are criticizing Biden’s comments, the story says. “I think what Biden said was foolish,” said New York University law professor Stephen Gillers.

“She’s not there to ‘have their back.’ She’s there to interpret the law as she sees fit. … Biden crosses the line when he starts representing to interest groups that she would be voting in their favor.”

Northwestern law professor Steven Lubet disagreed. “The fact that her supporters think she’s more disposed toward law enforcement does not suggest bias. Everybody’s in favor of law enforcement; no one’s opposed to law enforcement,” Lubet told Politico. “This lacks the sort of specificity that would suggest bias.”


Dennis Bedard said...

Joe Biden is a buffoon. The only good that can be said about this comment is that it is not nearly as dumb as other musings he has offered. Lubet's comment is a nice attempt to cover up pandering to interest groups by convincing them that the judge will rule in their favor on issues that affect them before the court.
Claiming that everyone is in favor of enforcing the laws and not having our public places populated by dope addicts and rapists evades the central issue and attempts to define the debate in such a way that assumes that since the motive of the speaker is clear, anything thereafter said is permissible. But imagine if the issue were not law enforcement, per se, but abortion, gay marriage, gun rights, or, say, the takings clause of the 5th Amendment. Let us say that Biden were speaking to an NRA audience about gun control, and he said something to the effect that Soutamayor believes in the Second Amendment and that she will "have your back." Or an abortion rights group. The comment would bring about a huge outcry, and rightfully so because the VP would be telling people that in cases that affect their interests, she will vote their way. Lubet's statement in such a context would be laughable. But for some reason, when the issue is law enforcement, people are afraid to lable Biden's actions what they are, bald faced pandering, for fear of being labeled "pro crime" or "anti-police." The Supreme Court of the United States has never decided a case contrary to the interests of law enforcement becaue they were opposed to law enforcement on generic philosophical grounds. They decide cases about constitutional issues that are very important to a free society but whose adjudication is not a reflection of the political influence or morality of any of the parties.

Rumpole said...

You guys hung over in Naples? Too many "apple-tinis"?

Why don't you try some cases and drink some bourbon, preferably at the same time, like real trial lawyers, instead of prancing around looking at slide shows illustrating footnotes in slip opinions demonstrating why you should file your next motion entirely in latin.

David Oscar Markus said...

Rumpole, don't be a hater. Anyway, I saw you here soaking in the rays.

lucas law center said...

Yeah you are right David. Rumpole, don't be a hater. That's part of our life.