Burr Statement on Nomination of Judge Sotomayor

Today U.S. Senator Richard Burr (R-North Carolina) issued the following statement regarding the nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court of the United States:

“On July 23, with Senate Judiciary hearings behind us, I had the opportunity to meet privately with Judge Sotomayor.  Without question, she has impressive academic credentials, a lengthy judicial record, and a personal story that is inspiring to many Americans.  These qualities are certainly admirable; however, I am concerned with Judge Sotomayor’s ability to adhere to long-standing case precedent and apply the law according to a strict interpretation of the Constitution.  I am troubled by her decisions in cases where she appears to have relied on something other than well-settled law to come to a decision.  My fear is that she has been unable to separate her personal belief system from that of the letter of the law. 


“In 2005, when then-Senator Obama voted against current Chief Justice John Roberts, he conceded that Roberts had a ‘passion for the law’ and that he was a legal advocate with an ‘excellent record.’  I would say the same thing about Judge Sotomayor.  However, it was the uncertainty that then-Senator Obama had about Roberts’ impartiality that resulted in his vote against him.  Any concern about uncertainty with our current Chief Justice would pale in comparison to the uncertainty I believe Judge Sotomayor currently presents to the highest court in the land.  While she stated in her testimony that she would adhere to legal precedent, her judicial record suggests otherwise.  In several cases she has clearly ignored precedent or cited precedent that did not apply to the facts at hand, and I believe let her personal beliefs cloud her judgment. 


“The decisions made by the Supreme Court affect the lives of every American.  After taking into consideration Judge Sotomayor’s answers to my questions and reviewing her decisions that appear to have departed from the normal principles of jurisprudence, I find little predictability in her decisions and the implications they may have.  I am concerned by the several examples where I believe Judge Sotomayor strayed from the rules of strict statutory construction and legal precedence and went with her own deeply held beliefs while providing little explanation.   Therefore, I am unable to support her nomination to the Supreme Court.”