Underplaying abortion involvement, did Sotomayor perjure herself?

UPDATE, 9:35a: The Americans United for Life blog has a new post entitled, "Sotomayor contradicted herself on what she knew about PRLDEF abortion advocacy." This includes a statement made by Sotomayor only yesterday morning during the Senate hearings on her Supreme Court confirmation explaining her involvement with the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund that directly contradicted with her testimony in the afternoon expressing ignorance about 6 radical pro-abortion briefs PRLDEF filed.

yoest testifying.jpgIn her testimony yesterday, Americans United for Life's Charmaine Yoest made the case that Sonia Sotomayor would be a pro-abortion radical on the Supreme Court.

Yoest detailed radical pro-abortion briefs submitted by the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, of which Sotomayor was a board member...

During the 12 years that Judge Sotomayor served as a governing board member of the PRLDEF, the organization filed 6 amicus briefs in 5 abortion-related cases before the Supreme Court....


Sotomayor served the PRLDEF "at various points" as a member and vice president of the Board of Directors, and as Chairperson of the Education and Litigation Committees. Judge Sotomayor was described in The New York Times as "frequently meeting with the legal staff to review the status of cases... [and] play[ing] an active role as the defense fund staked out aggressive stances on issues.... The board monitored all litigation undertaken by the fund's lawyers, and a number of those lawyers said Ms. Sotomayor was an involved and ardent supporter of their various legal efforts during her time with the group."

It is difficult to imagine that a member of the Board of a legal organization that has staked out a pro-abortion advocacy agenda, who was "an ardent supporter of their legal efforts," would not agree with the organization's decision to sign onto amicus briefs in major Supreme Court cases....

In those briefs PRLDEF opposed the Partial Birth Abortion Ban, opposed informed consent before abortion, opposed waiting periods before abortion, opposed parental involvement, supported mandatory taxpayer funding of abortion at both the state and federal levels, opposed record keeping and reporting requirements as "harrass[ment]," and compared abortion to a First Amendment right.

Which brings us to Sotomayor's potential perjury yesterday, as blogged by AUL's Dawn Eden:

12:19 p.m. - Hatch brings up the PRLDEF briefs and notes Sotomayor served on a dozen different leadership positions during her 12 years on the fund's board. Says he wants to ask questions regarding abortion cases in which the fund filed briefs....

Brings up amicus brief comparing refusing to use Medicaid funds for abortion to the Dred Scott case. "Did you know the fund was filing this brief?"

soto hands away.jpg

Sotomayor: "No sir."

Asks if she knew the fund was making its Dred Scott argument.

Sotomayor: "No."

He runs down a line of questions asking if she ever made any objections to the arguments made in the brief. She responds: "I was not a lawyer on the fund. ... I was a board member." Says it was not her practice to review the briefs.

He cites the fund's Ohio brief [in which PRLDEF argued against parental involvement laws] and begins running down the same list of questions. Did she know the fund was filing this brief?

Sotomayor: "No." Says she knew generally that they were filing briefs but didn't know of the brief until after the fact.

He brings up the Planned Parenthood vs. Casey brief [in which PRLDEF argued against informed consent and waiting periods] and asks the same questions.

Sotomayor: "For the same reason, no."

She may have just perjured herself. The Judicary Committee has the minutes of the PRLDEF litigation committee's meetings, showing that Sotomayor was briefed on pending litigation. It would be interesting to compare the dates of the briefings with the dates of those briefs Sotomayor claims she never saw in advance.

Eden then referred to the Republican Senate Leader Board blog that evaluated the meeting notes:

PRLDEF Committee minutes show deeper involvement than acknowledged....

PRLDEF Litigation Committee minutes confirm that board members including Judge Sotomayor were routinely briefed on litigation status....

When Sotomayor was chairperson of the Litigation Committee, she briefed the board on current litigation....

The Leader Board blog reposted the leadership positions Sotomayor held at PRLDEF, per her response to a questionnaire to Sen. Jeff Sessions:

• Member of the Board of Directors: 1980-1992
• Education and Professional Development Committee: 1980
• Nominations Committee: 1980, 1981, 1982, 1985, 1986, 1987, and 1990
• Litigation Committee: 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1986, 1987, 1988, and 1991
• Chairperson of the Litigation Committee: 1983, 1984, 1987, and 1988
• Executive Committee: 1982, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988
• Treasurer: 1982
• Special Vice Chair of the Board: 1984, 1985
• Second Vice Chair of the Board: 1986
• First Vice Chair of the Board: 1987, 1988
• Finance Committee: 1986, 1987, 1988
• Personnel Committee: 1988

Here are the dates PRLDEF submitted its amicus briefs on these abortion-related cases before the Supreme Court:

Williams v. Zbaraz, 1980
Webster v. Reproductive Health Services, 1989
Ohio v. Akron Center for Reproductive Health,1990
Rust v. Sullivan, 1991
Planned Parenthood v. Casey , 1992

And Sotomayor was completely oblivious to every single one? She had nothing to do with any other them? I find this very hard to believe. I expect Republican staffers have been scouring PRLDEF committee meeting notes all night.

This information is important because it not only shows Sotomayor may have perjured herself yesterday, but it shows she as a Supreme Court justice would oppose common sense legislation passed by the people that even David Souter most often supported.


Now we just have to find that smoking gun in the meeting minutes. If the Republicans can prove to the world that she is as extreme as BO, (e.g. opposing Partial Birth Abortion Bans) and if the Senate still confirms her, watch out.

I don't know if God will be able to withhold His Hand of Judgment from our country much longer.

Posted by: Ed at July 17, 2009 7:11 AM

Good work, Jill.

We all know Sotomayor is lying, but since she is a slippery lawyer, it will be hard to catch her. I hope they do catch her in perjury and that disqualifies her.

She really should be disqualified based on her history of deciding cases based on her racial bias, and making new law from the bench. But, the 60 Democrats agree with that philosophy that is antithetical to the founders written wishes in the constitution.

Posted by: GodsImage at July 17, 2009 7:13 AM

Either she is terrible because she had no idea her group was filing amicus briefs, or she is terrible because she did, but is now denying it.
FYI - some ppl may not know what an amicus brief is; the Supreme Court does not "hold" court like we see on TV. The prosecutor and defendant are not cross-examining each other, etc. So, there is no opportunity to call in an expert witness, or "material" witness - the Supreme Court does not gather and involve original evidence. What they do is review decisions made by lower federal courts, if 1. someone appeals to the Supreme Court to hear the case and 2. the Supreme Court briefly reviews it and decides to go ahead and review it. So, all the Supreme Court does is review a court case, involving or possibly involving federal law. The judges apply their knowledge of federal law, including all relevant cases as well as laws from the Constitution and laws that have come from the legislative process (Congress/President). They then make a decision about the already-decided case. They can stick with the already-made decision, or overturn it. If they overturn it, they have to spell out why. These explanations are the "decisions."

So, witnesses cannot be called. However, as a case goes to be reviewed by the Supreme Court, there is a mechanism to add some "expert testimony." This is through the "amicus curiae" brief, or amicus brief. This translates as "friend of the court." Many professional groups submit these as a relevant case goes to be reviewed by the Supreme Court. This is how new "thinking," or new "evidence," can be introduced into the set of material that the Supreme Court has at its fingertips to review when making a decision. It is not part of the actual court case material, but some well-meaning "friend of the court" submit "just a little note" pointing out a few key details regarding the case at hand. So, it is a big deal for PRLDEF to submit an amicus brief. Guaranteed that each amicus brief from PRLDEF was not written out the night before, off the top of the head. Each would have been carefully sculpted, with many people looking it over to make sure it was nuanced and tailored just right. The amicus brief posted at sotamayor411 is actually an amicae (plural) brief, co-submitted by a range of groups, not just PRLDEF. That means that PRLDEF and the other groups all had to negotiate out who would be involved, what the brief would say to be satisfactory to each group, etc. This makes it even less likely that Sotamayor had awareness of these amicus briefs - tat least this one brief required senior people to interact with many others at many other groups.

Sorry this post is so long. I am sure many know what an amicus brief is, but many others do not. Plus, many can't recall from high school how the Supreme Court works - and the younger ppl no longer learn "civics" in school anyway. So it is nice to review how an amicus fits in the system as Sotamayor perjures herself.

Posted by: Row1 at July 17, 2009 7:57 AM

This makes it even less likely that Sotamayor had awareness of these amicus brief

Posted by: Row1 at July 17, 2009 7:57 AM

I think you meant to say it makes it less likely that Sotomayor was unaware of these amicus briefs. (Meaning there was the potential for her greater involvement given multiple players, and her position on the board for her legal skills and experience.)

Posted by: Chris Arsenault at July 17, 2009 9:36 AM

Yes, Chris - my typing was wrong. thx.

Posted by: Row1 at July 17, 2009 10:47 AM

Playing the clueless card is wrong if we want tallent on the supreme court.

A "wise Latina woman" doesn't know what is going on in the Puerto rican deal? Not wise in my book

Posted by: xppc at July 17, 2009 12:49 PM

There once was a shooting in a "house of ill repute". When the police arrived and questioned the piano player, he answered their questions, and then said "I'm horrified to learn that there has been illegal prostitution going on in this establishment, and I'm leaving immediately".

I wonder if Judge Sotomayer would've resigned from the boards she was on if the police had come to one of the board meetings and told her what was going on there?

Posted by: Doyle Chadwick at July 17, 2009 1:46 PM

"The Washington Times reported last week that the White House has refused to release several boxes of documents from Sotomayor’s tenure with the PRLDEF. Given Sotomayor’s apparent contradictions in her own testimony, one is left to wonder: What are they trying to hide?"

What on God's green earth is the White House doing with records from the PRLDEF and by what authority are they concealing them from the Senate Judiciary Committee and by extension the American citizen?

Are these records in the same lock box with pbho's vault copy of his long form birth certificate, college records, and the same lock box that once held Hillary's Whitewater files?

yor bro ken

Posted by: kbhvac at July 17, 2009 5:17 PM

One the questions that was most revealing was asked by the Senator from Oklahoma.

Does an American have the right to defend himself?

The wise latina could not even remember the recent United States Supreme Court ruling overturning Washington D.C. ban on hand guns in a private dwelling.

But even if her memory failed her in that moment (and I do not for a minute think that is the case.) the wise latina could not or would not bring herself to acknowledge the universal truth that every human being has the primary right, responsibility and obligation to defend her/his own life.

The wise latina's reluctance to offer even a personal opinion about something as elemental as that is troubling. I bet she would have no problem figuring out the correct answer if she or someone she loved was being assaulted and she had the means and the will to apply the corrective measure. They do not call a handgun an 'equalizer' for nothing.

yor bro ken

Posted by: kbhvac at July 17, 2009 5:26 PM

Congrats Jill.

This scientific fact: an embryo, can be in a lab a few days, put in a RENTED WOMB three months, and the rest of months till birth in an incubator.

This VOIDS the premise "is my body" of Roe-Wade. Why is not grilled to Sotomayor?

Posted by: Guillermo Bustamante at July 18, 2009 3:07 PM