Saturday, May 30, 2009

Why Obama Chose Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court

President Obama is an effective implementer of his Strategic and Practical Thinking we have seen in the past hundred days by examining his appointments to the White House and Cabinet and his considerable accomplishments.


The quality of the people he has chosen with differences of experience and ideology, but clustered near the center of the country indicates where he is. Not liberal or conservative, but thinks about the things important to the typical voter who wants a good job with security so he or she can provide their children and grandchildren with a good education so their lives might be better than their parents. The Radical Republicans call this liberal. I call it Centrist or closer to what most Americans think, but still tilted towards corporations for obvious reasons. That is where power resides.

After War World II because of the GI Bill and the relatively good Union pay jobs allowed one parent to educate their children, have a comfortable home, with time to enjoy their time off work. Now Americans work longer hours than any developed country in the world, get less individual compensation, pay proportionally a much larger income tax and property tax for schools because corporations pay a measly 12% average than the typical over $40% of the school taxes in the past by having congress pass laws for their benefit while giving crumbs for the rest of us. In Oregon, most of the large corporations pay only $10, the minimum, from a 1930's law which has been hard to change.

President Obama expressed what he believes during the campaign and is now implementing those ideals which veers from the ideology of maximizing profits for the Corporations, Banks, and Wall street with little consideration for important human values important to the rest of us.

His question about the Supreme Court must have been something like this. Who can I choose to change the usual vote by Justice Kennedy with the conservative majority and satisfy most of the country which needs a Justice  to represent the rest of us. 

The practice of law is more difficult for a judge if they don't judge based on their ideology because law has to be applied in the context of the situation to apply it fairly. Judges makes mistakes as Judge Sotomayor has, but overall she is not as  ideological as Scalia, Thomas, Roberts, and Alito have demonstrated without question. Kennedy is more thoughtful and in many ways more scholarly than the other conservative Justices who vote corporate close to 100% of the time and have made no attempt to veer from their upbringing and genetics. 

Judge Sonia Sotomayor was picked because the Republicans cannot really accuse her being of being a staunch liberal or deviating from the rule of law. Her rulings are so good on the law that her two Republican Justices usually  concurred with her. She is a leader and is not shy about speaking her mind based on extensive examination of the law. She is said to be always well prepared and scolds either the defendant lawyer or prosecutor or plaintiff lawyer when they are not adequately prepared. She writes very well which allowed her to submit an anonymous essay which won her a editor position of the Yale Law Review, an extremely prestigious position. Sotomayor was at Princeton at the same time as Justice Antonin Scalia. She was granted Summa Cum Laden or best in her class while Scalia got no comparable awards. Who is the dumber one? 

Kennedy admitted during a speech to an up coming law students that there many contradictions between his Catholic religion and what is now known, but he said he has been able to resolved them. Sotomayor is divorced so she too has been able to shape her behavior to the real world verses her Catholicism.

The other four Justices based their decision almost entirely on ideology and assemble supporting facts or arguments while Kennedy, who is conservative, at least does some analysis about what is right and consistent with the Constitution. Many times the Constitution is vague or very broad in interpretation to accommodate changing times, a wise decision. 

But we must not forget that the rich and powerful wrote our constitution soon after the enlisted soldiers rebelled for not being paid while the officers got paid for the Revolutionary War. They were able to overcome many objections by people such as Thomas Jefferson because it gave too much power to the wealthy and powerful. My how things have not changed that much!

Much is made by the Right Wing Republicans that law is just applying logic and nothing else. They might want to read the New York Times article on August 8, 2000 by Erica Goode. 

Here is an excerpt: "We use to think that everybody uses categories in the same way, that logic plays the same kind of role for everyone in the understanding of everyday life that memory, perception, rule application and so on are the same," Dr. Nisbett said. "But we're arguing that cognitive processes themselves are just far more malleable than mainstream psychology assumed."

What is most important of all is that Judge Sotomayor saved baseball by ending the lockout by the billionaires who wanted to extract even more money from television revenues rather than players getting their fair share. No one gets more than their fair share, unless you are a CEO, working on Wall Street, or a corporate Banker who shape our laws to benefit themselves by giving contributions to congress to get their powerful and effective lobbyists to execute their will. Congress is not really being bribed because they give time and consideration to all their constituents equal time or do they?

Jim Kawakami

May 30, 2009

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