Opinion

Justice Sotomayor Should Recuse Herself From Obama’s Amnesty Appeal

REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

Ian Smith Immigration Reform Law Institute

With the Supreme Court taking up Texas v. U.S., the multi-state challenge of Obama’s amnesty program, immigration patriots and unbiased jurists are no doubt scratching their heads wondering, how has Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor not been forced to recuse herself yet?

For over a decade, Justice Sotomayor served as a Board Member and Vice President of the open-borders legal advocate and long-time amnesty-activist, LatinoJustice. The Ford Foundation and Soros-funded group is at the forefront of efforts to advocate for DAPA’s “legality.” It’s accused the Texas-led coalition of 26-states of discriminating against “Latino families” and trying to bring back Jim Crow and it’s just submitted a brief in the Texas case asking Sotomayor and the other justices of the court to find Obama’s amnesty program constitutional. Judging by her past statements and connections with the organization, she won’t need much prodding.

According to open-borders activists, one “honor” Sotomayor’s earned during her tenure on the court (which has been far from stellar), is her being the first justice ever to use the term “undocumented immigrant” in a court opinion. As attorneys involved in immigration law know, “illegal alien” is the term that appears in our immigration statutes, regulations and case law. For any judge to refuse to recognize that it’s an accurate and objective term, should raise serious questions about their fairness, impartiality and potential for bias.

This has been an issue in the Texas case. Following the Obama Administration’s continued use of “undocumented immigrant” in their briefs, the Fifth Circuit confirmed that since illegal aliens’ entry into the country is certainly illegal under the law, the term is indeed fair and proper. Using the descriptor “undocumented,” meanwhile, is not. An estimated 75 percent of illegal aliens do actually have ‘documents’ in the form of social security numbers. They get the numbers by either making them or buying real ones from criminals who’ve stolen them from citizens (mostly children).

By using the political rather than the proper term, Justice Sotomayor’s responding to her ‘true community.’ Self-appointed Hispanic leaders, and those advocating for open-borders in particular, are feverishly ethnocentric and it appears the Justice is no different. The self-described “wise Latina” routinely connects her proud Hispanic heritage with her judging, once stating that for “non-white jurists” like herself, “national origin may and will make a difference in our judging.” She’s stated elsewhere that as a Hispanic judge, “[I] tak[e] pride in being Hispanic, and in recognizing my obligation to help my community.” How far could this sense of obligation stretch? If she could almost single-handedly defer the deportations of millions in her community, would she?

Then there’s the apparent animus the justice has for those outside her community. Although she’s admitted her career’s been a product of affirmative action, she’s said that “In every position that I’ve been in, there have been naysayers who don’t believe I’m qualified or who don’t believe I can do the work.” As a result, she’s had to “work harder than a lot of other people” and therefore “feel[s] a special responsibility to prove them wrong.” This is a judge with a serious axe to grind.

And she’s not just talking the talk. Up until 2004, Sotomayor was a member of the National Council of La Raza (meaning “The Race” in Spanish), a pro-open-borders and hyper-racialist organization whose founder has stated that for Hispanics to be “liberated” in America, “the gringo must go.” As a student, she co-chaired Accion Puertorriquena, a pro-racial-quotas organization that lobbied against California’s “Prop 187,” a ballot initiative that would’ve stopped the state from giving illegal aliens the kinds of benefits Texas is now fighting against. She praised the group’s work in 1996 during a speech at the Third World Center, another social justice group that she as well as Michelle Obama once co-chaired.

Then there’s her 12 years of service at LatinoJustice. The group has a long history in fighting to erase our borders and give illegal aliens the rights of American citizens. It sued the small town of Hazelton, Pennsylvania when, in an effort to curb a wave of illegal-alien crime, the town council passed an ordinance requiring local landlords to confirm the citizenship-status of their tenants (the law firm I work for defended the town). The group’s been involved in other high-profile immigration cases, including U.S. v. Arizona, and bizarrely, they’ve even filed a petition with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights claiming that the U.S. government is failing to protect illegal aliens from hate crimes. Part of their petition claimed that DHS’s 287(g) program, which allows state law enforcement and federal immigration authorities to cooperate, was racist (although they apparently forgot to mention that Mexico has the exact same program). As for Texas’s amnesty challenge, the group’s stated that illegal aliens should not be denied amnesty for being here unlawfully because “It was America that lured them to our shores with its need for cheap labor.”

The Supreme Court’s rule on recusals is informal; however, the Judicial Code that provides disqualification standards to lower-court federal judges is instructive. Section 455 states that a judge “shall disqualify himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned.” It also provides that a judge is disqualified “where he has a personal bias or prejudice concerning a party.” On mass amnesty, is it reasonable to expect Justice Sotomayor to be impartial or will she simply seek results? While a decision carried by her vote permitting Obama’s amnesty program to go forward may be celebrated by some as ‘Latino justice’ redeemed, for the American majority, it would be justice denied.