Sonia Sotomayor on Courts and Policy Making

For years, the right has been successful at conflating case law, which is judicial decision making based on precedent rather than just statues, with legislating from the bench.  Each time there is a judicial nominations fight, especially when it involves a Supreme Court seat, they try to scare the bejesus out of people with this idea that unelected activist judges are supplanting lawmakers with their fancy expansive decision making. Nonsense.

Case law does not just come out of the thin air. Its grounded in previous court opinions may have interpreted a given statue and usually its a fairly rigorous process taking place over many years.

So now conservatives think they have a smoking gun video clip with Judge Sonia Sotomayor telling law students in a flip manner that policy gets made at the appellate court level.  And that’s certainly true for a lot of things, particularly domestic policy, but not as true when it comes to national security matters.

At any rate, here is the innocuous clip of Judge Sotomayor discussing case law.


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