Judge Lewis and Ken Gormley Offer Comment on the Sotomayor NominationOn July 13, 2009 by Schnader in Appellate
Judge Timothy Lewis, counsel in Schnader’s Washington, DC office, and Ken Gormley, counsel in Schnader’s Pittsburgh office, were quoted in a July 13 Pittsburgh Tribune-Review article titled “Hearings to Deal with Left, Right Divide on Sotomayor’s Role.” Confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee began for Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor began on Monday, July 13. While a Democratic majority makes it likely that Judge Sotomayor will win Senate confirmation, there has been much debate over a justice’s role. Senators have battled over the difference between interpreting law and making policy, and how heavily personal experience should weigh on deciding how to apply the Constitution. Judge Sotomayor’s statement that “the court of appeals is where policy is made” raised concerns among conservatives.
In contrast, Judge Lewis explained that the liberal approach, which rose to prominence during the 1950s and ’60s during the tenure of Chief Justice Earl Warren, is of a living constitution, which was designed to change with a dynamic nation. Mr. Gormley, Dean of Duquesne University Law School, said, “All you can ask is that someone is not going to have a political agenda, as much as that is humanly possible. If you do that, it means there aren’t going to be preordained results just because of who you want to win or lose. A real judge wears blinders to all of that.” Judge Lewis, a former judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, said that he supports her confirmation. “The fundamental qualification for a Supreme Court justice is wisdom, integrity, and smarts at a very high level, and a life experience that shows they will be able to understand the effects of their decisions.”