Marco Rubio is desperate.
The former Florida House speaker was probably the first Hispanic to take a swipe at new Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor. The Cuban-American from Miami, who's running in the Republican primary against Charlie Crist for U.S. Senate, made the following comment Tuesday:
"The role of the Supreme Court is to interpret the Constitution, not to make law. Given this, I am deeply concerned about Judge Sotomayor's past comment that the courts are 'where policy is made' and look forward to hearing her explanation and defense of that view."
Problem is, the statement is a bunch of hooey. Sotomayor, who's of Puerto Rican descent, fought her way from the projects in the Bronx to Princeton and then edited the Yale Law Journal.
Of course, if Rubio wanted to know what she meant by "where policy is made," he'd only have to listen to the words directly preceding and following it. Third-grade teachers call this "reading in context."
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The remark came during a conference at Duke University School of Law in 2005, and Sotomayor said it with a chuckle and a grain of salt. "All of the legal defense funds out there, they are looking for people with court of appeals experience because the court of appeals is where policy is made. And I know this is on tape and I should never say that because we don't make law. I know. OK, I know. I'm not promoting it. I'm not advocating it. I know."
So, Rubio is worried about the spooky idea of Sotomayor's potential "judicial activism," when just a few sentences later, she says she's not promoting or advocating it but merely commenting on a reality. Yes, courts do play a part in shaping policy. That's partially what they're there for, to interpret laws. Legislation, the responsibility of the legislative branch, doesn't always translate into clear-cut policy.
Of course, Rubio's concerns are hardly his own. They've been making the rounds on the far right blogosphere since Sotomayor's name was first murmured as a potential nominee. So, here's Rubio, eager to please the conservative base, acting as an echo chamber for the wing nuts.