Sotomayor: Education Beats Adjudication

By Mark Walsh — July 15, 2009 1 min read
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Judge Sonia Sotomayor said that parenthood and the education system are the places for addressing the ills of society, not the courtroom.

“By the time a criminal defendant ends up in court, they’ve been shaped by their lives,” the Supreme Court nominee told Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. “If you want to give people the best opportunity at success at life—it’s a message I deliver frequently to my community—it has to be through early childhood forward. If you’re waiting to do that once they’re before a judge in court, your chances of success have diminished dramatically.”

“And so one of my messages in many of my speeches to my community groups is pay attention to education,” Sotomayor continued. “It’s the value mom taught me, but her lesson … was not lost on me when I became a prosecutor. And it’s a lesson that I continue to promote because I so fervently believe it. The success of our communities depends on us improving the quality of our education of our children and of parental participation in ensuring that that happens in our society.”

“We cannot remedy the ills of society in a courtroom,” Sotomayor went on. “We can only apply the law to the facts before us.”

The hearing is plodding towards the end of its first round, in which each of the Judiciary Committee’s 19 members will have had 30 minutes to question the nominee. All of the panel’s seven Republicans have had their turn, so we are finishing up with the more junior of the 12 Democrats.

The first round is expected to end this afternoon, followed by a traditional closed-door session between the committee and Sotomayor to go over things like FBI background reports and financial disclosures.
Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., the committee’s chairman, says the second round, which could begin today, will allow for up to 20 minutes of questioning by any panel member who wants it.

A version of this news article first appeared in The School Law Blog.