Sotomayor: Court Jester or Judge as King?

Deborah O'Malley /

Walter Olson recently expressed some discontent over the hullabaloo raised by his conservative allies concerning the now infamous Sotomayor “where policy is made” YouTube video. He states:

Some conservatives keep publicizing a YouTube clip where she confides to a panel-discussion audience that appeals courts are “where policy is made.” Sorry, but that’s a standard observation among legal commentators these days—by no means limited to liberals—and, by my subjective measure, she actually comes off pretty well on that tape.

While it is certainly true that conservatives have often observed (and lamented) the fact that policy is made in the circuit courts, Sotomayor’s comments, in contrast, were clearly not a mere statement of fact. Let’s look closer at her exact language: (more…)