Senator John Cornyn has announced that he will pose a "daily question" raised by Judge Sotomayor's record and opinions every business day from now until the start of the confirmation hearings on July 13. As the press release explains: "The goal of the Daily Question series is to encourage a civil discourse that focuses on what is important: Judge Sotomayor's record and judicial philosophy." Insofar as the question helps to keep the discussion over Judge Sotomayor focused on substantive legal questions, this seems like a good idea to me (and much better than the name-calling and psychoanalyzing that we've seen in recent weeks).
Today's question is "What is the proper role of foreign and international law in interpreting the United States Constitution?" In his release, Senator Cornyn explains how this question has been raised in some of Judge Sotomayor's speeches and decisions, in particular a 2009 speech before the ACLU of Puerto Rico. Senator Cornyn concludes:
In my view, the Constitution does not give federal judges the "freedom of ideas" to devise new ways to limit the democratic process. Judges must follow the law and the Constitution. They are not "free" to enact "good ideas" into law when their "creative juices" flow. That is a job for the people acting through their elected branches, not a job for judges tasked with following the law. In light of Judge Sotomayor's address at the ACLU of Puerto Rico, I hope Judge Sotomayor can explain how she reconciles her views of foreign and international law with the properly limited role of the judiciary in a democratic society.