Shurtleff takes aim at Sotomayor

Chris Rizo Aug. 6, 2009, 1:22pm

Mark Shurtleff (R)

Sonia Sotomayor

SALT LAKE CITY (Legal Newsline)-Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff on Thursday took aim at U.S. Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor over her views on gun rights.

Shurtleff, a Republican who is running for U.S. Senate, said the appeals court judge has shown she lacks an understanding of "fundamental" constitutional rights.

"Judge Sotomayor has proved that her views are out of line with the vision of the founders and the authors of our constitution," said Shurtleff, who is challenging fellow Republican Sen. Bob Bennett in 2010.

Bennett has voiced his opposition to Sotomayor, who was nominated by President Barack Obama to replace Associate Justice David Souter, who left the high court after its current term ended in June. Utah's other U.S. senator, Republican Orin Hatch, has said he will vote against Sotomayor's nomination.

"She will be an activist justice, substituting her own personal opinion on matters of public policy for that of the legislative branch, thereby destroying the delicate balance of power established in the Constitution," Shurtleff said.

Sotomayor, who sits on the New York-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, was nominated in 1991 by Republican President George H. W. Bush to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. In 1997, Democratic President Bill Clinton nominated her to the appeals court post she now holds.

Shurtleff said Sotomayor has a "limited and incorrect view on the Second Amendment," which "demonstrates a basic lack of understanding and recognition of fundamental constitutional rights."

The attorney general pointed to Sotomayor's decision in a case earlier this year to help make his point. In Maloney v. Cuomo, Sotomayor ruled that states are not required to honor the Second Amendment, Shurtleff said in the statement.

"Even the liberal Ninth Circuit disagreed with this opinion," he said.

From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at

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