Tags: obama | sotomayor | court

Sen. Hatch Warns Obama: Don't Nominate Sotomayor

Friday, 08 May 2009 03:00 PM

By Rick Pedraza

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Top Judiciary Committee Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, is warning President Barack Obama not to nominate Circuit Court Judge Sonia Sotomayor for the U.S. Supreme Court Justice because it would be hard to get her confirmed.

“That's a problem,” Hatch told Fox News upon learning of Sotomayor’s statement that “the court of appeals is where policy is made.”

Sotomayor, the early front-runner to fill the vacancy when Justice David Souter retires this summer, has professed a belief that judges can make policy, which Hatch says should signal that Obama’s potential nominee won’t hold up.

“She would have a more difficult time if she was nominated because of statements like that,” Hatch says. “And, of course, she has a whole raft of opinions that I think would have to be scrutinized very carefully.”

Hatch says Obama needs a nominee who will sail through the Senate confirmation process, noting the importance of having a new justice seated by the October reconvening of the court.

“But I'll tell you one thing,” Hatch told Politico. “I'm not very happy about judges who will substitute their own policy preferences for what the law really is; who think that they can run the country from the bench when they actually have a limited role. And that role is to interpret the laws made by those who have to stand for reelection."

Despite Obama’s promise to pick someone “in the jurisprudential mainstream,” Hatch said the president is playing politics with his Supreme Court pick, sending signals that he wants an activist on the court.

"He's also said that a judge has to be a person of empathy,” Hatch said Sunday on ABC’s "This Week." “What does that mean? Usually that's a code word for an activist judge.”

Hatch fears Obama is going to select judges “on the basis of their personal politics, their personal feelings, and their personal preferences. Now, you know, those are all code words for an activist judge who is going to be partisan on the bench," he explains, preferring Obama choose "somebody of great dimension."

"We all know he's going to pick a more liberal justice,” he said. “Their side will make sure that it's a pro-abortion justice. I don't think anybody has any illusions about that. The question is: are they qualified?"

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