6.29.2009

Sotomayor

Pundits are making a lot of the fact that the Supreme Court this morning overturned the decision of a judicial panel that included Supreme Court nominee Sotomayor. The decision was Ricci v. DeStefano - an 'odd' civil rights case in that it was brought by white folk, specifically firefighters. A more detailed description appears in the link.

The pundits have it backwards. The fact that Sotomayor was overruled shows just how right she is for this spot on the Court. She has been nominated to replace Souter, who took the same side Sotomayor did . . . and lost today. If the conservative Court had upheld the ruling, perhaps we'd have something about which to talk.

4 comments:

David said...

I don't see it the same way - I'm not interested in "balance of power" approaches to law or governance (this is also why I am appalled at the idea that giving Utah a representative is a fair trade for giving DC one...)

Judge Sotomayor did not think this case was worth very many words when she encountered it, and ruled against the plaintiff via something similar to a brush off. The fact that the Supreme Court not only thought that it was worth a lot of discussion, and kal v'homer thought that the behavior of the city was not reasonable is something noteable.

Now, I don't think that her position places her outside the pale of polite citizenry, but holding positions which have been considered and rejected by the sitting Supreme Court certainly seems like something which should be a topic of rigorous questioning.

elanit said...

David-
The Supreme Court did not rule 9-0 or even 7-2 in favor of the firefighters. It was basically split down the middle, Kennedy being the deciding vote, as usual. 4 Supreme Court judges AGREED with Sotomayor, so it's not the entire Court REJECTED her view. This would be a bigger deal if Souter, Breyer, etc., disagree with her as well.

David said...

Oh, I don't think this will prove, in the end, to be a big deal - with the current Democratic majority in the Senate about the most which should be expected is a some pointed questions (which I do hope that she answers - I'm not a fan of the typical bob-and-weave).

Judge Sotomayor is clearly qualified, and the President is due some deference in his selections; that doesn't exempt the nominee from being asked, pointedly, to justify opinions. That this case came up in this manner just makes a topic of questioning all the more obvious.

Justin said...

This was a clear case of judges calling balls and strikes based on their political preferences and not on the actual law. This was a legally questionable decision and another proof that the conservative justices are as, if not more, activist than the current "liberal" justices on the Court.

This current Court holds positions rejected by previous courts. Yet, these justices were all confirmed.

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