Archive for Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Obama introduces N.Y. appeals judge as his Supreme Court nominee

Sonia Sotomayor would be first Hispanic on nation’s highest court

May 26, 2009, 7:51 a.m. Updated May 26, 2009, 10:25 a.m.


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— President Barack Obama named federal appeals judge Sonia Sotomayor as the nation’s first Hispanic Supreme Court justice on Tuesday, praising her as “an inspiring woman” with both the intellect and compassion to interpret the Constitution wisely.

Obama said Sotomayor has more experience as a judge than any current member of the high court had when nominated, adding she has earned the “respect of colleagues on the bench,” the admiration of lawyers who appear in her court and “the adoration of her clerks.”

“My heart today is bursting with gratitude,” Sotomayor said from the White House podium moments after being introduced by Obama.

If confirmed by the Senate, she would join Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as the second woman on the current court, the third in history. She would succeed retiring Justice David Souter.

She would be unlikely to alter the ideological balance of the court, since Souter generally sides with the liberals on key 5-4 rulings. But at 54, she is a generation younger that Souter, and liberal outside groups hope she will provide a counterpoint to some of the sharply worded conservative rulings.

Obama and Sotomayor both noted the historic nature of the appointment. The president said a Hispanic on the court would mark another step toward the goal of “equal justice under law.”

Obama and Sotomayor stood with Vice President Joe Biden. It was a striking picture of diversity: a black president, a white vice president and a Hispanic nominee to the nation’s highest court.

Sotomayor said she grew up in poor surroundings and never dreamed she would one day be nominated for the highest court.

Obama has said he hopes she can take her place before the justices begin their new term in October.

Democrats hold a large majority in the Senate, and barring the unexpected, Sotomayor’s confirmation should be assured.

The Senate Republican leader, Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, issued a statement that said: “Senate Republicans will treat Judge Sotomayor fairly. But we will thoroughly examine her record to ensure she understands that the role of a jurist in our democracy is to apply the law evenhandedly, despite their own feelings or personal or political preferences.”

In his remarks, Obama made no mention of his earlier statement that he wanted a justice with empathy, although his remark that compassion was needed came close.

Sotomayor’s nomination opens a new phase in the drive to replace Souter, as liberal and conservative groups alike scour the record she has compiled in 17 years on the federal bench.

In one of Sotomayor’s most notable decisions, as an appellate judge she sided last year with the city of New Haven, Conn., in a discrimination case brought by white firefighters. The city threw out results of a promotion exam because too few minorities scored high enough. Coincidentally, that case is now before the Supreme Court.

That ruling has already drawn criticism from conservatives, and is likely to play a role in her confirmation hearing.

In one of her most memorable rulings as federal district judge, in 1995, Sotomayor ruled with Major League Baseball players over owners in a labor strike that had led to the cancellation of the World Series.

Obama referred to that in his remarks, then joked he hoped her support for the Yankees would not unduly influence New Englanders to oppose her in the Senate.

Among them is Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who said, “The American people will want the Senate to carry out its constitutional duty with conscientiousness and civility.”

Sotomayor grew up in New York after her parents moved from Puerto Rico. She has dealt with diabetes since age 8 and lost her father at age 9, growing up under the care of her mother in humble surroundings. As a girl, inspired by the Perry Mason television show, she knew she wanted to be a judge.

A graduate of Princeton University and Yale Law School, a former prosecutor and private attorney, Sotomayor became a federal judge for the Southern District of New York in 1992. She became an appeals judge in 1998 for the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers New York, Vermont and Connecticut.

She was first appointed by a Republican, President George H.W. Bush, and won Senate confirmation without dissent. She was named an appeals judge by President Bill Clinton in 1997.

At her Senate confirmation hearing more than a decade ago, she said, “I don’t believe we should bend the Constitution under any circumstance. It says what it says. We should do honor to it.”

Obama’s nomination is the first by a Democratic president in 15 years.

His announcement leaves the Senate four months — more than enough by traditional standards — to complete confirmation proceedings before the court begins its next term in the fall.

Republicans have issued conflicting signals about their intentions. While some have threatened filibusters if they deemed Obama’s pick too liberal, others have said that is unlikely.

Given Sotomayor’s selection, any decision to filibuster would presumably carry political risks — Hispanics are the fastest-growing segment of the population and an increasingly important one politically.

One conservative group did not wait for the formal announcement. Wendy Long of the Judicial Confirmation Network, issued a statement calling Sotomayor a “liberal judicial activist of the first order who thinks her own personal political agenda is more important that the law as written.”

Abortion rights have been a flashpoint in several recent Supreme Court confirmations, although Sotomayor has not written any controversial rulings on the subject.

As a federal appeals court judge in 2002, she ruled against an abortion rights group that had challenged a government policy prohibiting foreign organizations receiving U.S. funds from performing or supporting abortions.

In her opinion, Sotomayor wrote that the government was free to favor the anti-abortion position over a pro-choice position when public funds were involved.

Sotomayor’s elevation to the appeals court was delayed by Republicans, in part out of concerns she might someday be selected for the Supreme Court. She was ultimately confirmed for the appeals court in 1998 on a 68-28 vote, gathering some Republican support.

Among those voting against her was Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, now the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee that will hold sway over her confirmation.

“I’d say the stakes are higher for the Supreme Court,” he said recently. “The Supreme Court sometimes seems to be acting as a continuing constitutional convention, so I am concerned about that.” He said Sotomayor would be entitled to a fair hearing if nominated.

Sotomayor possesses credentials Sessions said he wanted in a pick for the high court — years of experience on the bench. Obama had talked openly about the upside of choosing someone outside the judiciary — every current justice is a former federal appeals court judge — but passed over at least two serious candidates who had never been judges.

Sotomayor has spoken openly about her pride in her ethnic background and has said that personal experiences “affect the facts that judges choose to see.”

“I simply do not know exactly what the difference will be in my judging,” she said in a speech in 2002. “But I accept there will be some based on my gender and my Latina heritage.”

From the moment Souter announced his resignation, it was widely assumed Obama would select a woman to replace him, and perhaps a Hispanic as well.

Others known to have been considered included federal appeals judge Diane Wood, who was a colleague of the president’s at the University of Chicago Law School, as well as two members of his administration, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Solicitor General-nominee Elena Kagan.

Obama came to office at a time when several potential vacancies loomed on the high court. Justice John Paul Stevens at is 89, and Ginsburg recently underwent surgery for pancreatic cancer.


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years ago

I predict that Republicans will engage in some gratuitous whining, and then allow the nomination to go through.

Shane Garrett 9 years ago The following is a link to why this supreme court justice needs to be aware of the stealth jihad. And why Gitmo must remain open.

Aiko 9 years ago

This is not the first hispanic in that position! That being said, this should be a good pick.

temperance 9 years ago

Conservatives will trot out the Jeffrey Rosen hit job, full of anonymous, cowardly, and substance-free attacks on Sotomayor’s intellect and demeanor. Then they’ll claim, “look, even the ‘liberal’ Rosen in the ‘liberal’ New Republic thinks she can’t handle the job.” I hope I’m wrong.

imastinker: “What choice is there?” – Diane Wood was another potential selection.

webmocker 9 years ago

Aiko (Anonymous) says…

"This is not the first hispanic in that position! That being said, this should be a good pick."

Who do you think is the first United States Supreme Court Justice of Hispanic origin?

Flap Doodle 9 years ago

"Who do you think is the first United States Supreme Court Justice of Hispanic origin?"

30 seconds worth of research answered this question.

"Benjamin Nathan Cardozo (May 24, 1870–July 9, 1938) was a well-known American lawyer and Supreme Court Justice, remembered for his significant influence on the development of American common law in the 20th century, in addition to his modesty, philosophy, and vivid prose style. Although Cardozo served on the Supreme Court from 1932 until his death, the majority of his landmark decisions were delivered during his 18-year tenure on the New York Court of Appeals, the highest court of that state.

Born in New York City to Albert and Rebecca Nathan Cardozo, Benjamin was a twin, with his sister Emily. Some of Cardozo's ancestors were Portuguese Jews who immigrated to Britain's North American colonies in the 1740s and 1750s from Portugal[1] via the Netherlands and England. The surname Cardozo (Cardoso) is of Portuguese origin."

Bob Forer 9 years ago

Kinda funny. When the repubs choose a minority for the Supreme Court, they invariably find a mediocre, no-talent jurist, i.e., Clarence "there's a pubic hair on my coke can" Thomas. The dems, on the other hand, always seem to shine. Priceton and Yale. Not bad, not bad at all.

Bob Forer 9 years ago

Sorry, snap, but you're wrong. Cardozo was not hispanic. He was Portuguese, and while agnostic, considered himself of the Jewish culture.

According to the Houghton dictionary, hispanic means " "of or relating to Spain or Spanish-speaking Latin America." Portugal is not Spain. And folks in Portugal do not speak Spanish. They speak Portuguese.

webmocker 9 years ago


30 more seconds of research on Wikipedia shows that while you certainly have some evidence supporting your position, it's not clear that Portuguese ancestors count, at least not under the modern usage of the term.

"Hispanic (Spanish: hispano, hispánico) is a term that historically denoted relation to the ancient Hispania (geographically coinciding with the Iberian Peninsula). During the modern era it took on a more limited meaning relating to the contemporary nation of Spain."

"Still more recently, the term is used to describe the culture and people of countries formerly ruled by Spain, usually with a majority population of substantial Spanish heritage and speaking the Spanish language. These include Mexico, most Central and South American countries, and most of the Greater Antilles...."

Steve Jacob 9 years ago

Say what you will, she is a very liberal judge. I like her background a lot though. And CNN reported she have very little assists, so that helps the hearings.

And we are lucky she will be the first Hispanic justice. If John Ashcroft did not resign as Attorney General in 2005, Alberto Gonzales would have been on the court right now.

Flap Doodle 9 years ago

Read a little farther down in the wiki definition, webmocker.

"For example, the U.S. Department of Transportation defines Hispanic to include, "persons of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Dominican, Central or South American, or others Spanish or Portuguese culture or origin, regardless of race."[15] This definition has been adopted by the Small Business Administration as well as many federal, state, and municipal agencies for the purposes of awarding government contracts to minority owned businesses. Still other government agencies adopt definitions that exclude people from Spain. Some others include people from Brazil, but not Spain or Portugal."

temperance 9 years ago

@ TheSychophant – Don’t forget the intellectual heavy-hitter Harriet Meiers . . .

lildos 9 years ago

While this is all semantics, I am pretty sure people of Portuguese descent would not consider themselves Hispanic, they may take the contract for minority owned business, but they do not see themselves as Hispanic. Especially since the term Hispanic has become so loaded in the past decades. Whatever the Department of Transportation selects as a demographic description does not necessarily translate to personal understandings of heritage and lineage. Like your definition says snap, some agencies include Brazil, Spain, and Portugal, while others do not. But the people from those countries would most likely not agree with your definition. If it is to be an all encompassing demographic description, Brazilians prefer Latino/a, because it better defines them as people (not Hispanic, that's for sure), and Spanish and Portuguese people, if not labeled Europeans, would probably prefer the term Iberian.

So, in the current definition of Hispanic used by the people, and not by some government agency, this is the first Hispanic judge.

roger_o_thornhill 9 years ago

What's with all this citing of Wikipedia? That isn't a real source. It is OK for some things, but when pretending to have "intellectual" discussions, it seems silly to trade in Wikis.

Aiko 9 years ago

and there you have it... good job snap!

RogueThrill 9 years ago

Which presupposes that the white guy is always more qualified.

White guys have had it so hard when it comes to being given important jobs in the government. Christians have it pretty rough too.

temperance 9 years ago

"Maybe the virgin marry [sic] will appear in a tortilla and help her decide difficult cases."

Maybe you're a racist with the language skills of a third grader. Maybe.

Leslie Swearingen 9 years ago

This from the Huffington Post :A Puerto Rican woman with 16 years of court experience who currently sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, Sotomayor is a graduate of Yale Law and served as an editor of the Yale Law Review. Administration officials note that Sotomayor would bring more judicial experience to the Supreme Court than any justice confirmed in the past 70 years. " I would call her Latina.

63BC 9 years ago

Sycophant writes:

Kinda funny. When the repubs choose a minority for the Supreme Court, they invariably find a mediocre, no-talent jurist, i.e., Clarence “there's a pubic hair on my coke can” Thomas. The dems, on the other hand, always seem to shine. Priceton and Yale, not bad, not bad at all.

Fact: Clarence Thomas graduated from Yale Law School.

Research before you post, buddy.

KansasVoter 9 years ago

This seems like a good choice for the Supreme Court.

gccs14r 9 years ago

She sounds like a centrist. That's not what we need. The Republicans have been stacking the Court for 40 years, and the result is the highest prison population in the world. Lots of folks in prison don't need to be there. We need some dyed-in-the-wool Liberals on the court to try to reverse the trend toward an Inquisition.

MyName 9 years ago

Yeah, and N. Korea's 3-4 nukes that would be lucky to make it to Seoul are a real threat to the existence of this country.

At least if we invaded Pyongyang we might find some WMDs. Still waiting on those in Iraq BTW! You think they're about to turn up AZHoop?

Alia Ahmed 9 years ago

Marion (Marion Lynn) says…

Judge Sonia Sotomayor: “Court is Where Policy is Made”

This explains her statement in context.

gccs14r 9 years ago

Personally, I'm thrilled that N. Korea is doing all these tests. That means that they don't have as many to shoot at people. It's not as if they have buckets of money to build new ones.

Sigmund 9 years ago

"In one of Sotomayor’s most notable decisions, as an appellate judge she sided last year with the city of New Haven, Conn., in a discrimination case brought by white firefighters. The city threw out results of a promotion exam because too few minorities scored high enough."

I think the Obama administration should throw out all the Supreme Court nominations because too few whites scored high enough.

Bob Forer 9 years ago

Fact: Clarence Thomas graduated from Yale Law School.

Research before you post, buddy

Regardless of his Yale pedigree, he was still unable to figure out how the pubic hair ended up on his coke can.

Mixolydian 9 years ago

What's the difference between Hispanic and Latino?

There's a Kansas Hispanic & Latino American Affairs Commission which clearly differentiate the two. Just curious.

I think Obama did well with this selection.

Sigmund 9 years ago

Surely one person will call this what it is, Tokenism writ large. The administration made it clear that nobody but Hispanic/Latino females need apply. It is a sad day when Supreme Court nomination have more to do with the color of the nominee's genitalia than their "judicial temperament." I had hoped for a America under President Obama where we changed to a meritocracy instead of continuing the failed racist and sexist policies of the past where Jurists were judge first by the color of the foreskin. Apparently not so much.

yourworstnightmare 9 years ago

From what I have read and heard, Sotomayor seems like a bad choice.

Apparently her legal opinions are not well-constructed or well-argued, and she has a high rate of being overturned by higher courts.

It seems she forms opinions before studying the particulars of a case,opinions based upon ideology (in this case a race politics ideology).

She could be the "liberal" Clarence Thomas.

Flap Doodle 9 years ago

"The Republicans have been stacking the Court for 40 years." Did you forget the existence of Bill Clinton, who appointed Ginsburg and Breyer?

blakec 9 years ago

'At a 2001 U.C. Berkeley symposium marking the 40th anniversary of the first Latino named to the federal district court, Sotomayor said that the gender and ethnicity of judges does and should affect their judicial decision-making. From her speech:'

And? So we would just want a justice to come in there and follow the same judicial standard established by mostly white men? A standard that has already been influenced by gender, ethnicity, and economic status.

She is experienced and has yet to make a decision in court that cries 'OMG, ultra-liberalist, nazi-hugging, radical judge' as many would like to see. Quit making something out of nothing because, gasp, we might see a well-qualified hispanic woman become a supreme court judge.

Stuart Evans 9 years ago

when will the government, the media, and the people stop falling all over themselves to put the first of anything into a leadership position? first african American this, first latin American that. I think there is so much push to include minorities and women that they tend to look right past qualified white men. I'm not saying that this lady isn't perfectly capable, I really don't know her record. but what i'm saying is that affirmative action is alive and well and still pushing white men out of the way for a more diverse portfolio for whoever nominated them.

Kyle Reed 9 years ago

Hey blakec, just because you fail to see the problem is what this candidate said doesn't make it "something out of nothing" as you put it. Justice is supposed to be blind, not influenced by personal opinion or bias. I don't care if she's a well qualified, 4 headed martian...if she can't apply the law fairly and without bias she has no business being a judge at all.

Stuart Evans 9 years ago

oh Akreed.. don't you know that it's the dream of all liberals to legislate from the bench? that way they can create laws and govern from all branches of government.

jumpin_catfish 9 years ago

He picked a liberal, so whose surprised.

Sigmund 9 years ago

blakec (Anonymous) says… "She is experienced and has yet to make a decision in court that cries 'OMG, ultra-liberalist, nazi-hugging, radical judge' as many would like to see. Quit making something out of nothing because, gasp, we might see a well-qualified hispanic woman become a supreme court judge."

No one said she wasn't qualified. The question is she the best qualified jurist, or more narrowly even the best qualified of the brown colored jurists with a vagina? Maybe, probably not. But that doesn't really matter because Black men/women, White men/women, Asian men/women, and Hispanic men need not apply in the alleged "post racial" Obama administration.

What is clear is she believes in giving preferences to people with certain sex organs and with the preferred skin color. She is the worse kind of racist, those who with a wink and a nod openly discriminate.

In Ricci v. DeStefano, a group of 19 white firefighters and one Hispanic firefighter filed suit in 2003 claiming that the city of New Haven, Conn., engaged in racial discrimination when it threw out the results of two promotion tests because none of the city’s black applicants had passed the tests. Each of the plaintiffs had passed the exam. The city threw out the results because it feared potential lawsuits from activist groups if few or no minority candidates were promoted.

Federal Judge Janet Bond Arterton rejected the firefighters’ appeal, saying that no racial discrimination had occurred because the city didn’t promote anyone at all. U.S. Appeals Court Judge Sotomayor issued an order that affirmed Arterton’s decision, issuing a one-paragraph judgment that called Arterton’s ruling “thorough, thoughtful, and well reasoned.”

Now does anyone believe that no discrimination occurred because no one (even the qualified applicants) was promoted? Are we to believe that the best qualified Supreme Court nominee issued a one paragraph judgment giving props to this nonsense and this is the best American Jurisprudence has to offer this country's debate on racial preferences?

Seriously, Sotomayor is a empty skirt and Obama's promise of a meritocracy where people are judged by the quality of their character and not the color of their skin is in shambles.

bearded_gnome 9 years ago

Sigmund, absolutely right on! that Connecticut firefighters' case should've been "one strike and you're out" for her!

when I heard of this appointment, my first question was "is she also a disabled lesbian, dyslexic, raised in DC where there's no representation in congress, etc.?

sadly, the stigma of an "affirmative action hire" hits hardest on the person hired! was she the best, or just had all the checkboxes? if a white man were the best qualified, it sure looks as if he would have been passed over because of his race and gender. and some liberals approve of that racism/sexism as posted above.

and before you nutbag huffingtonpost/dailykos loonie lefties call me a racist/sexist/homophobe, etc., I'll tell you that between my wife and I we represent five of your "hyphenated americans" groups.

Obama and Sotomayor both noted the historic nature of the appointment. The president said a Hispanic on the court would mark another step toward the goal of “equal justice under law.”

approves of racism when whites are the victim of it.

I love how the tolerant liberals like psychofont above smear a racial minority group member who doesn't toe the liberal line; true: there is far more evidence that Bill Clinton committed rape while Arkansas Attorney General than that Justice Thomas actually sexually harrassed that lying bimbo.

I also love how the nutbag liberals are bringing up complete irrelevancies, like Iraqi WMD's...huh? they love to forget that just before Baghdad fell we have radio traffic from Saddam's generals calling for the use of WMD's. so apparently in their little liberal hate world, we're supposed to have known what saddam had better than his own generals?

yourworstnightmare 9 years ago

I do not care for the racist overtones of some of the above messages, but it is clear that Sotomayor is a bad choice, in large part because she uses ideology and not constitutional scholarship to render decisions.

In this case, she uses an ideology based on race politics.

I have the same problem with justices Scalia, Alito, Thomas, and Roberts, who also make ideologically-based rulings, just based on a different ideology. For these justices, their ideology is one of right wing christian anti-gay, pro-gun, pro-corporate, anti-equal protection, anti-general welfare.

In either case, making rulings based on ideology and not constitutional scholarship is a mistake, whether it be the race politician Sotomayor or the right wing ideologues Scalia, Thomas, Alito, or Roberts.

Sigmund 9 years ago

yourworstnightmare (Anonymous) says… "I have the same problem with justices Scalia, Alito, Thomas, and Roberts, who also make ideologically-based rulings, just based on a different ideology. For these justices, their ideology is one of right wing christian anti-gay, pro-gun, pro-corporate, anti-equal protection, anti-general welfare."

I am sure you can cite specific cases, one for each perceived bias would be good. Also your claim of racists post, can you cite an example or are you merely trying to smear with a broad brush all those you disagree with?

If Ricci v. DeStefano stands New Haven Connecticut will not have the best qualified firefighters protecting their citizens and their property, but they will be the correct racial mix. Worse, America will have not the best Supreme Court Justices, but one of the correct race and gender. That should be a great comfort when your house is on fire or when your rights, life, and liberty are being decided.

And it doesn't stop here. Medical Schools will not necessarily be accepting the best students, but classes that meet their diversity goals. Which is great and all "progressivey" and all until you have a heart attack and the doctor poking around in your heart was accepted because of the color of her skin and not the quality of her academics and test scores. Welcome to National Health Care, please take a number and if you are still alive when we call it hope your doctor got there on merit alone.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 9 years ago

You were right!! The Cheney-Limbaugh consortium has already started the whining, bitching, complaining and generally anti-Obama blather. I guess these guys simply do not understand that most people are sick and tired of these failed persons.

Godot 9 years ago

It is said that Sotomayor's temperament is "volatile." Can't wait to see how she stands up under the pressure of the confirmation hearings. I hope the Dems put her through the same insulting, condescending and irrelevant questioning that they put Alito and Roberts through.

beatrice 9 years ago

frwent, I think you are wrong. I believe we should hear a lot more from Cheney-Limbaugh, since they represent the views and the opinions of the right wing so well. Let people know exactly what they are getting when they vote for Republicans.

Godot, I'm sure she will be put through the ringer, and if she isn't, then your side isn't doing its job. Acting tough and asking questions someone else prepared is what politicians do to make their supporters happy. Much in the way people are going on and on here as if they really have a clue as to who she is, compared to just repeating the little bit the talking heads from either side have presented thus far.

Sigmund 9 years ago

Attacks on Cheney and Limbaugh are all fine and good, butt Beatrice, what does that have to do with the article? Weren't you the one complaining about posters with nothing to add (at least coherent or on point) who try to hijack these threads? As I had daily contact with one of those being vetted for the position I think I may have a clue, and except for the specifics of the law suit, I am repeating no one.

bisky1 9 years ago

i like her hair, there is a lot to be said for a woman who does her hair the same way i do mine, brush it once in the morning and you get what you get the rest of the day

beatrice 9 years ago

Sig, I don't think that was me complaining about people trying to hijack these threads. Besides, I was responding directly to a post that appeared just two posts earlier, although not you specifically when it comes to knowing something in depth about Sotomayor.

However, to stick to the story, I'll ask you this -- unless she is determined to be completely incompetent and incapable of doing the job, can the Republican party afford a full-on assault against Sotomayor without fear of further alienating Hispanic voters? That is a potentially serious issue that the Republicans will need to take into consideration. Besides that, Obama is still very popular with the majority of Americans, and if the Republicans come across as nothing but sore losers by attacking Sotomayor, it may further the party's slide into obscurity.

Steve Jacob 9 years ago

"My initial thoughts are that elections have consequences and this is his selection."

John McCain

Sigmund 9 years ago

beatrice (Anonymous) says… "I'll ask you this — unless she is determined to be completely incompetent and incapable of doing the job, can the Republican party afford a full-on assault against Sotomayor without fear of further alienating Hispanic voters?"

I could care less what the Republican party does. Those of either party who believe this is about Tokenism should put their Country ahead of their party and oppose this nomination. And since Rush Limbaugh's name has been thrown about and I was accused, no matter how obliquely, of repeating him I went to his website and found the following:

"Ladies and gentlemen, her story is very inspirational. The personal story of Sonia Sotomayor, where she came from and where she has now arrived, you can't deny that this is a tremendous story, very inspirational for practically everybody. But the thing I'd like to point out is that she accomplished all of this during the Reagan years. She accomplished all of this during the Bush years, both Bush presidential years, 12 years, and even the Clinton years. She accomplished all of this before President Obama, The Messiah, was elected president of the United States. Now, this morning Mr. Snerdley came to me breathlessly looking for guidance, as I'm sure many of you are, too. "Do you think we should go to the mat stopping Sotomayor? Do you think we ought to go to the wall to oppose her?" And I said, "Absolutely we should, once again an opportunity to draw the distinct contrast that exists today between conservatives and those in the Republican Party to President Obama."

The only thing that remotely sounds like a poster here was this: "The Supreme Court has reversed Judge Sotomayor in four instances where it granted certiorari to review an opinion she authored. "In three of these reversals, the Court held that Judge Sotomayor erred in her statutory interpretation," meaning she goofed up on the law. She was overturned four times when she wrote the opinion, the lead opinion, and in three of the four cases the Supreme Court held that she erred in her statutory interpretation. The cases are Knight v. C.I.R., Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Inc. v. Dabit, New York Times, Inc. v. Tasini, and Correctional Servs. Corp. v. Malesko. The cases are 2008, 2006, 2001, and 2001. So there you have it. "

But anyone mentioning the facts could be accused "repeating."

bearded_gnome 9 years ago

if I said "a white man's experience is richer than that of a latina and better prepares him to be a good judge," I'd be sliced and diced before sunrise!

yet, Bea, nightmare, and other far left crazies think that her expression that a Latina's "richer" experience would make her a better judge is perfectly fine. this is blatant racism.

she has indeed been overturned a lot.

she seems to think that judges ought to legislate from the bench.

her supporters are definitely quite hypocritical in all these points as they support her.

I completely emphasize and support, "I wish to associate myself with the comments of my learned coleague," Sigmund above.

We don't need one standard of justice for each group/class/category of americans! that will destroy our country. and I will repeat, my wife and I are in some of those "preferred" categories Obama has sited in speeches. nothanks.

or, Bea, maybe we should get a judge that figures older women who live in arizona have had it easy and don't need "breaks" from the legal system when they come before his or her court?

Kyle Reed 9 years ago

beobachter = broken record. If you can't contribute to the conversation please help keep the noise to a minimum at least and stfu.

beatrice 9 years ago

I see that nobody could actually answer the question on whether or not Republicans can politically afford a prolonged attack against Sotomayor, just ridiculous claims of racism and legislating from the bench -- which is always the case for some whenever a judge decides against their own particular ideology.

The question remains, if she is qualified, and it appears by most counts that she, can the Republican party afford an all out attack against her without fear of having a further disconnect with the growing number of Hispanic voters?

And anyone who feels that Meiers or Bork were questioned and found to be incapable or unqualified for the position simply because they are White, well then, please show even a shred of evidence that their race played a part in their being rejected.

I'm obviously not saying that Sotomayor should be confirmed simply because of her being Hispanic nor that she should not be questioned, just asking if she proves qualified to most people can and will a prolonged attack against her have an effect on how people feel about the ones doing the attacking? It is simply a real world question.

Then again, you can just dismiss such a question by calling me a far left crazy, and then watch along with me as the Republican party continues its slide into irrelavancy.

Stuart Evans 9 years ago

Beatrice says: "Godot, I'm sure she will be put through the ringer, and if she isn't, then your side isn't doing its job. "

Your side? shouldn't everyone in government be on our side? shouldn't the democrats be putting her through the ringer equally? If she isn't then YOUR SIDE isn't doing it's job! And I imagine that will be completely true.

Stuart Evans 9 years ago

Porch.. I didn't see anything in Gingrich's comment that wasn't absolutely true. Why should latinos, blacks & women continue to be held at different standards than whites? for all the fighting for equality that minorities and women have done, it sure looks like special handling is still required.

bad_dog 9 years ago

"Yeah, and she was reversed on six of the eight cases that went on from her court to the US Supreme Court. She was upheld once and the eighth is pending. A 75% overturn rate doesn't sound very glossy. Sounds pretty pathetic, actually."-Pilgrim2

FYI Pilgrim2, per the data in the attached link, the SCOTUS reversed 77.6% of the lower court rulings they reviewed in 2008. As such, Sotomayor's reversal rate is slightly lower than the average for 2008. I believe the reversal percentile is fairly consistent year over year.

Stuart Evans 9 years ago

i guess that means that our president (no matter who he is at the time) should be doing a much better job of picking federal judges. it's pretty bad when you have to choose from a whole flock of idiots that can't get it right 77% of the time

feeble 9 years ago

SCOTUS reviews maybe 90 cases a year. The appellate court systems reviews 1000's. If anything, this shows that SCOTUS and the appellate court system differ substantially in ideology (no surprise there, really.)

feeble 9 years ago

AreUNorml (Anonymous) says…

Porch.. I didn't see anything in Gingrich's comment that wasn't absolutely true. Why should latinos, blacks & women continue to be held at different standards than whites? for all the fighting for equality that minorities and women have done, it sure looks like special handling is still required.

Did you read the entire qoute? It was made inference to a hypothetical white male judge and a hypothetic latina judge deciding cases that came from and directly affect the latino community.

You should expect the latino/latina judge's ruling to be "wiser", as they are more familiar with that community. She's setting a higher standard for herself in that example. Note, she qualifies this by stating that "wise" in a judicial context is so broadly defined as to be meaningless, and then supports it with several lines of evidence, and then offers counter-arguments to better explore the statement.

Stop listening to the pundits and start reading and arguing the facts!

Stuart Evans 9 years ago


you don't have a clue about who I am. I have heard Rush only through the coverage he gets on the news. You need to check your understanding of other peoples viewpoints. I came up with my own, on my own, with my own experiences. So she may come up with a better understanding of a Latina than I will, but how will she fare on the subject of being a lower-middle class white guy? Don't forget, us white men have rights to, and they shouldn't be trampled all over in order to provide happiness for some other group. Perhaps YOU don't know the meaning of the word racism, since you so quickly turned me into a racist, misogynist simply because I demand equal treatment of people like myself. As a white man it appears to be taboo to even mention anything critical of blacks, Hispanics, or women.

bad_dog 9 years ago

Well, AreUNorml, given it appears approximately 3 out of every four cases appealed is reversed, you can easily knee-jerk a response such as the lower courts are staffed with morons. A different perspective might consider that perhaps there are other explanations such as deeply ingrained intellectual, legal, philosophical and/or political differences, or even (gasp!) that the SCOTUS isn't always correct-legally, morally or otherwise, or is motivated by its own agenda/political makeup. Having the last word doesn't always translate to being correct though, does it? Maybe yes, maybe no? Hmm. Let's see if any examples spring quickly to mind-oh yes, the Dred Scott decision, Plessy v. Ferguson, Roe v. Wade, the 2000 Presidential election. You know, those kinds of rulings-some you like, some you don't. Some only appear incorrect given the passage of time.

I'll have to speculate here, but I'll go out on a limb and state any of the "flock of idiots" you refer to above has a better grasp of the issues involved in these rulings than 95+% of the posters on the LJW website. There appears to be a pretty high proportion of "idiots" residing here as well-myself included upon occasion. I'd wager that a lot of these "rulings" from the so-called court of public opinion would likewise be reversed by the SCOTUS at an equally appalling rate.

Just my opinion, I could be wrong.

Stuart Evans 9 years ago

I've decided you're all correct. I should never ever question anything and just let the government do what is best for all of us. even if they don't have a clue in the world about what that might be. thank you for enlightening me. Everyone else should also do the same. as is said "resistance is futile"

beatrice 9 years ago

The "poor, poor us" whining about discrimination against White men in America is simply laughable and terribly stupid. How many Whites are on the highest court? How many of those are men? Over time? Virtually all of them.

Well, the times they are a changin'. Deal with it.

Besides, appointing someone who isn't a White male doesn't guarantee that a more qualified person is being overlooked. (Just how ignorant and sheltered are some people who have internet access after all?)

Aru, if you think Sotomayor should be grilled as harshly by Democrats as she will be by Republicans, then you live in a fantasy world. Yes, the representatives in congress represent all of us, but they do take sides -- hence the existence of political parties in the first place.

bad_dog 9 years ago

I'm not sure why you're retiring from the battlefield of opinions, AreUNorml. You're as free to express your opinion as others are to challenge it. It's just part of the give and take. There are very few absolutes and even fewer clairvoyants.

I always encourage questioning your government, but do so with an open mind-don't condemn it merely for the political expediency of doing so. A government is never universally right or wrong by virtue of the fact they exist, promote certain legislation or implement a given policy. Sometimes the wisdom or fallacy of a given position doesn't become evident for years or even decades. What may be right or wrong today may not become evident until some future tomorrow. Giving up on the questioning, the challenging and the discourse, however, adds nothing and like failing to vote, if you don't like the results you'll have no one to blame but yourself.

feeble 9 years ago

So Scalia and Thomas must be two of the most empathetic people on the planet, right? measure of judicial restraint:

"Widespread conservative complaints about “liberal judicial activism” should be taken with many grains of salt. If we ask how often the justices vote to strike down agency decisions, Scalia and Thomas, the most conservative members of the Supreme Court, show the most activist voting patterns. By contrast, the justices commonly described as “liberal” are the least activist."

Justice Rate of upholding agency decisions (%) Breyer 82% Souter 77% Ginsburg 74% Stevens 71% O’Connor 68% Kennedy 67% Rehnquist 64% Thomas 54% Scalia 52%

"How often has each justice voted to strike down a law passed by Congress?

We found that justices vary widely in their inclination to strike down Congressional laws. Justice Clarence Thomas, appointed by President George H. W. Bush, was the most inclined, voting to invalidate 65.63 percent of those laws; Justice Stephen Breyer, appointed by President Bill Clinton, was the least, voting to invalidate 28.13 percent. The tally for all the justices appears below."

Thomas 65.63 % Kennedy 64.06 % Scalia 56.25 % Rehnquist 46.88 % O’Connor 46.77 % Souter 42.19 % Stevens 39.34 % Ginsburg 39.06 % Breyer 28.13 %

RedwoodCoast 9 years ago

Judge with religiously-based morals=activist judge

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