- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 28, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Many people will use Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s appointments to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit as evidence of her fitness to be seated on the U.S. Supreme Court. That is mistaken.

These two positions are not dispositive of her qualifications. Trials weigh facts and circumstances in providing sentences. Accordingly, trial judges are given significantly more discretion as far as sentencing is concerned. That is for the judge closest to the litigants to decide. But the mere fact that a judge passed the Senate’s advise-and-consent muster on a district or appellate court position no more qualifies that judge for higher office than a mayor’s or governor’s position, as chief executive of his city or state, qualifies him to be chief executive of the country.

Judge Sotomayor’s nomination requires a complete and fresh evaluation by the Senate. Her qualifications are relevant, but they must not be a guarantee of anything.

ROBERT P. KIRCHHOEFER

McLean

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