Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sotomayor and economic liberalism?

Much of my dissatisfaction with leading "liberals" in the media and elected office (including the entire CO Democratic delegation save for Ed Perlmutter) is that while they champion liberal social causes they shy away completely from economic liberalism.

Scott Lemieux at LG&M
points us to this WSJ piece on Sotomayor which indicates at least a hint of economic liberalism, an ideology last seen on the Court with Charles Evans Hughes* in the 1930's. The WSJ points to Sotomayor's line of questioning in the Citizens United campaign finance case,
In her maiden Supreme Court appearance last week, Justice Sonia Sotomayor made a provocative comment that probed the foundations of corporate law.

During arguments in a campaign-finance case, the court's majority conservatives seemed persuaded that corporations have broad First Amendment rights and that recent precedents upholding limits on corporate political spending should be overruled.

But Justice Sotomayor suggested the majority might have it all wrong -- and that instead the court should reconsider the 19th century rulings that first afforded corporations the same rights flesh-and-blood people have.

Judges "created corporations as persons, gave birth to corporations as persons," she said. "There could be an argument made that that was the court's error to start with...[imbuing] a creature of state law with human characteristics."

If in fact this question is indicative of such a liberal bent by Sotomayor it will still be many years still before her philosophy is given a serious voice on the Court. In other words, this line of thought isn't going anywhere on the current Court.

Still, it is refreshing for liberals like myself to see that someone is at least making such an argument and that perhaps leading liberals will stop acquiescing to conservative narratives on economic issues.

Perhaps it is her Catholic upbringing shining through?

*arguably the Burger Court of the 70s/80s which gave us Valeo, another campaign finance related case.

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