Obama Taps Sotomayor For SCOTUS

President Barack Obama will make history today, nominating the first hispanic justice for the Supreme Court, 2nd Circuit appeals court judge Sonia Sotomayor. NYTimes:

President Obama will nominate Judge Sonia Sotomayor of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit as his first appointment to the court, officials said Tuesday, and has scheduled an announcement for 10:15 a.m. at the White House.

If confirmed by the Democratic-controlled Senate, Judge Sotomayor, 54, would replace Justice David H. Souter to become the second woman on the court and only the third female justice in the history of the Supreme Court. She also would be the first Hispanic justice to serve on the Supreme Court.

The announcement will come at 10:15 am. Analysis of her 2nd Circuit opinions. More . . .

A Sotomayor fact sheet:

Judge Sonia Sotomayor

Sonia Sotomayor has served as a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit since October 1998. She has been hailed as “one of the ablest federal judges currently sitting” for her thoughtful opinions,[i] and as “a role model of aspiration, discipline, commitment, intellectual prowess and integrity”[ii] for her ascent to the federal bench from an upbringing in a South Bronx housing project.

Her American story and three decade career in nearly every aspect of the law provide Judge Sotomayor with unique qualifications to be the next Supreme Court Justice. She is a distinguished graduate of two of America's leading universities. She has been a big-city prosecutor and a corporate litigator. Before she was promoted to the Second Circuit by President Clinton, she was appointed to the District Court for the Southern District of New York by President George H.W. Bush. She replaces Justice Souter as the only Justice with experience as a trial judge.

Judge Sotomayor served 11 years on the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, one of the most demanding circuits in the country, and has handed down decisions on a range of complex legal and constitutional issues. If confirmed, Sotomayor would bring more federal judicial experience to the Supreme Court than any justice in 100 years, and more overall judicial experience than anyone confirmed for the Court in the past 70 years. Judge Richard C. Wesley, a George W. Bush appointee to the Second Circuit, said “Sonia is an outstanding colleague with a keen legal mind. She brings a wealth of knowledge and hard work to all her endeavors on our court. It is both a pleasure and an honor to serve with her.”

In addition to her distinguished judicial service, Judge Sotomayor is a Lecturer at Columbia University Law School and was also an adjunct professor at New York University Law School until 2007.

An American Story

Judge Sonia Sotomayor has lived the American dream. Born to a Puerto Rican family, she grew up in a public housing project in the South Bronx. Her parents moved to New York during World War II – her mother served in the Women’s Auxiliary Corps during the war. Her father, a factory worker with a third-grade education, died when Sotomayor was nine years old. Her mother, a nurse, then raised Sotomayor and her younger brother, Juan, now a physician in Syracuse. After her father’s death, Sotomayor turned to books for solace, and it was her new found love of Nancy Drew that inspired a love of reading and learning, a path that ultimately led her to the law.

Most importantly, at an early age, her mother instilled in Sotomayor and her brother a belief in the power of education. Driven by an indefatigable work ethic, and rising to the challenge of managing a diagnosis of juvenile diabetes, Sotomayor excelled in school. Sotomayor graduated as valedictorian of her class at Blessed Sacrament and at Cardinal Spellman High School in New York. She first heard about the Ivy League from her high school debate coach, Ken Moy, who attended Princeton University, and she soon followed in his footsteps after winning a scholarship.

At Princeton, she continued to excel, graduating summa cum laude, and Phi Beta Kappa. She was a co-recipient of the M. Taylor Pyne Prize, the highest honor Princeton awards to an undergraduate. At Yale Law School, Judge Sotomayor served as an editor of the Yale Law Journal and as managing editor of the Yale Studies in World Public Order. One of Sotomayor’s former Yale Law School classmates, Robert Klonoff (now Dean of Lewis & Clark Law School), remembers her intellectual toughness from law school: “She would stand up for herself and not be intimidated by anyone.” [Washington Post, 5/7/09]

A Champion of the Law

Over a distinguished career that spans three decades, Judge Sotomayor has worked at almost every level of our judicial system – yielding a depth of experience and a breadth of perspectives that will be invaluable – and is currently not represented -- on our highest court. New York City District Attorney Morgenthau recently praised Sotomayor as an “able champion of the law” who would be “highly qualified for any position in which wisdom, intelligence, collegiality and good character could be assets.” [Wall Street Journal, 5/9/09]

A Fearless and Effective Prosecutor

Fresh out of Yale Law School, Judge Sotomayor became an Assistant District Attorney in Manhattan in 1979, where she tried dozens of criminal cases over five years. Spending nearly every day in the court room, her prosecutorial work typically involved "street crimes," such as murders and robberies, as well as child abuse, police misconduct, and fraud cases. Robert Morgenthau, the person who hired Judge Sotomayor, has described her as a “fearless and effective prosecutor.” [Wall Street Journal, 5/9/09] She was co-counsel in the “Tarzan Murderer” case, which convicted a murderer to 67 and ½ years to life in prison, and was sole counsel in a multiple-defendant case involving a Manhattan housing project shooting between rival family groups.

A Corporate Litigator

She entered private practice in 1984, becoming a partner in 1988 at the firm Pavia and Harcourt. She was a general civil litigator involved in all facets of commercial work including, real estate, employment, banking, contracts, and agency law. In addition, her practice had a significant concentration in intellectual property law, including trademark, copyright and unfair competition issues. Her typical clients were significant corporations doing international business. The managing partner who hired her, George Pavia, remembers being instantly impressed with the young Sonia Sotomayor when he hired her in 1984, noting that “she was just ideal for us in terms of her background and training.” [Washington Post, May 7, 2009]

A Sharp and Fearless Trial Judge

Her judicial service began in October 1992 with her appointment to the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York by President George H.W. Bush. Still in her 30s, she was the youngest member of the court. From 1992 to 1998, she presided over roughly 450 cases. As a trial judge, she earned a reputation as a sharp and fearless jurist who does not let powerful interests bully her into departing from the rule of law. In 1995, for example, she issued an injunction against Major League Baseball owners, effectively ending a baseball strike that had become the longest work stoppage in professional sports history and had caused the cancellation of the World Series the previous fall. She was widely lauded for saving baseball. Claude Lewis of the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote that by saving the season, Judge Sotomayor joined “the ranks of Joe DiMaggio, Willie Mays, Jackie Robinson and Ted Williams.”

A Tough, Fair and Thoughtful Jurist

President Clinton appointed Judge Sotomayor to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in 1998. She is the first Latina to serve on that court, and has participated in over 3000 panel decisions, authoring roughly 400 published opinions. Sitting on the Second Circuit, Judge Sotomayor has tackled a range of questions: from difficult issues of constitutional law, to complex procedural matters, to lawsuits involving complicated business organizations. In this context, Sotomayor is widely admired as a judge with a sophisticated grasp of legal doctrine. “’She appreciates the complexity of issues,’ said Stephen L. Carter, a Yale professor who teaches some of her opinions in his classes. Confronted with a tough case, Carter said, ‘she doesn’t leap at its throat but reasons to get to the bottom of issues.’” For example, in United States v. Quattrone, Judge Sotomayor concluded that the trial judge had erred by forbidding the release of jurors’ names to the press, concluding after carefully weighing the competing concerns that the trial judge’s concerns for a speedy and orderly trial must give way to the constitutional freedoms of speech and the press.

Sotomayor also has keen awareness of the law’s impact on everyday life. Active in oral arguments, she works tirelessly to probe both the factual details and the legal doctrines in the cases before her and to arrive at decisions that are faithful to both. She understands that upholding the rule of law means going beyond legal theory to ensure consistent, fair, common-sense application of the law to real-world facts. For example, In United States v. Reimer, Judge Sotomayor wrote an opinion revoking the US citizenship for a man charged with working for the Nazis in World War II Poland, guarding concentration camps and helping empty the Jewish ghettos. And in Lin v. Gonzales and a series of similar cases, she ordered renewed consideration of the asylum claims of Chinese women who experienced or were threatened with forced birth control, evincing in her opinions a keen awareness of those women’s plights.

Judge Sotomayor’s appreciation of the real-world implications of judicial rulings is paralleled by her sensible practicality in evaluating the actions of law enforcement officers. For example, in United States v. Falso, the defendant was convicted of possessing child pornography after FBI agents searched his home with a warrant. The warrant should not have been issued, but the agents did not know that, and Judge Sotomayor wrote for the court that the officers’ good faith justified using the evidence they found. Similarly in United States v. Santa, Judge Sotomayor ruled that when police search a suspect based on a mistaken belief that there is a valid arrest warrant out on him, evidence found during the search should not be suppressed. Ten years later, in Herring v. United States, the Supreme Court reached the same conclusion.

In her 1997 confirmation hearing, Sotomayor spoke of her judicial philosophy, saying” I don’t believe we should bend the Constitution under any circumstance. It says what it says. We should do honor to it.” Her record on the Second Circuit holds true to that statement. For example, in Hankins v. Lyght, she argued in dissent that the federal government risks “an unconstitutional trespass” if it attempts to dictate to religious organizations who they can or cannot hire or dismiss as spiritual leaders. Since joining the Second Circuit, Sotomayor has honored the Constitution, the rule of law, and justice, often forging consensus and winning conservative colleagues to her point of view.

A Commitment to Community

Judge Sotomayor is deeply committed to her family, to her co-workers, and to her community.

Judge Sotomayor is a doting aunt to her brother Juan’s three children and an attentive godmother to five more. She still speaks to her mother, who now lives in Florida, every day.

At the courthouse, Judge Sotomayor helped found the collegiality committee to foster stronger personal relationships among members of the court. Seizing an opportunity to lead others on the path to success, she recruited judges to join her in inviting young women to the courthouse on Take Your Daughter to Work Day, and mentors young students from troubled neighborhoods Her favorite project, however, is the Development School for Youth program, which sponsors workshops for inner city high school students. Every semester, approximately 70 students attend 16 weekly workshops that are designed to teach them how to function in a work setting. The workshop leaders include investment bankers, corporate executives and Judge Sotomayor, who conducts a workshop on the law for 25 to 35 students. She uses as her vehicle the trial of Goldilocks and recruits six lawyers to help her. The students play various roles, including the parts of the prosecutor, the defense attorney, Goldilocks and the jurors, and in the process they get to experience openings, closings, direct and cross-examinations. In addition to the workshop experience, each student is offered a summer job by one of the corporate sponsors. The experience is rewarding for the lawyers and exciting for the students, commented Judge Sotomayor, as “it opens up possibilities that the students never dreamed of before.” [Federal Bar Council News, Sept./Oct./Nov. 2005, p.20] This is one of many ways that Judge Sotomayor gives back to her community and inspires young people to achieve their dreams.

She has served as a member of the Second Circuit Task Force on Gender, Racial and Ethnic Fairness in the Courts and was formerly on the Boards of Directors of the New York Mortgage Agency, the New York City Campaign Finance Board, and the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund.

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  • Display: Sort:
    On the Catholic thing (5.00 / 0) (#18)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue May 26, 2009 at 08:59:57 AM EST
    As far as I know, Sotomayor's religious views have not been germane to her opinions. Plus, if you are going to choose an hispanic, you pretty much are going to choose a Catholic.

    But it would be a great thing if the Catholic thing became a "left" criticism of her. wonder how the Right would react to that.

    All I would ask for... (5.00 / 0) (#29)
    by Dr Molly on Tue May 26, 2009 at 09:18:13 AM EST
    As far as I know, Sotomayor's religious views have not been germane to her opinions.

    mexico city rule (none / 0) (#32)
    by jedimom on Tue May 26, 2009 at 09:44:32 AM EST
    she did not make the pro choice people very happy with her decision on mexico city rule, just fyi as far as her Catholicism is concerned....

    Well (5.00 / 0) (#36)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue May 26, 2009 at 09:47:40 AM EST
    Her ruling was correct imo.

    I do not think her Catholicism had anything to do with it.


    I guess it was going to be her all along, then (none / 0) (#1)
    by andgarden on Tue May 26, 2009 at 08:34:15 AM EST

    The narrative the WH is selling (none / 0) (#3)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue May 26, 2009 at 08:36:25 AM EST
    is that Obama was "blown away" when he met with her on thursday.

    ::shrug:: (none / 0) (#4)
    by andgarden on Tue May 26, 2009 at 08:40:22 AM EST
    It's a shot at Rosen (none / 0) (#6)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue May 26, 2009 at 08:43:58 AM EST
    in a way.

    Yup (none / 0) (#13)
    by andgarden on Tue May 26, 2009 at 08:50:45 AM EST
    John King on CNN: "She's not an intellectual firebrand like. . .Alito."



    Heh (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue May 26, 2009 at 08:57:48 AM EST
    King and Alito are pretty similar in the intellectual firepower department.

    Up there with the WH press flack (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by andgarden on Tue May 26, 2009 at 09:02:03 AM EST
    who put Al Sharpton in the front row at this pending presser.

    Whew! (none / 0) (#27)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue May 26, 2009 at 09:17:44 AM EST

    Meaning she's not a firebrand (none / 0) (#53)
    by Cream City on Tue May 26, 2009 at 10:58:43 AM EST
    or not an intellectual?  Somehow, I fear the latter from the media.  What in the world would it take, with her record from valedictorian to holder of advanced degrees from fine schools?

    Great News what will republicans do? (none / 0) (#2)
    by Saul on Tue May 26, 2009 at 08:34:16 AM EST
    Do you think they will filibuster?

    Does the sun rise in the east? (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by Molly Bloom on Tue May 26, 2009 at 08:44:40 AM EST
    I think (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by jbindc on Tue May 26, 2009 at 08:52:13 AM EST
    the Repubs will put up a little bit of a fight for show and for their constituents, because a going-to-the-mat fight over this nominee will do nothing put hurt their already almost demolished reputation.  I think if Obama gets another nominee is when they will put up their real fight - that way some time will have passed, and maybe the glow from his halo won't be as bright.  The American voters have very short attention spans and very short memories, so they might be in a little better standing with the public at that time.

    Who cares (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by WS on Tue May 26, 2009 at 08:56:11 AM EST
    Sonia Sotomayor will be the next Supreme Court Justice.  Repubs will howl like they always do but that is all they will do.  

    For show only. The Hispanic vote (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by Cream City on Tue May 26, 2009 at 10:59:31 AM EST
    has been the Repub salvation before, and they want it back.

    Is she progressive enough? (none / 0) (#5)
    by Dr Molly on Tue May 26, 2009 at 08:43:52 AM EST
    Some are reporting that she is a centrist.

    Dunno (none / 0) (#8)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue May 26, 2009 at 08:44:22 AM EST
    OF COURSE SHE'S A 'CENTRIST"! (none / 0) (#11)
    by tokin librul on Tue May 26, 2009 at 08:45:43 AM EST
    You think Commander Cautious would nominate a real "liberal"?



    progressive (none / 0) (#33)
    by jedimom on Tue May 26, 2009 at 09:46:15 AM EST
    she is progressive as all get out on affirmative action, she dismissed the CT firefighters case, the one hispanic plaintiff I guess didnt enter her realm of thinking, sadly she had no legal basis for her reasoning in that whatsoever and I expect SCOTUS will reprimand her thinking somewhat in their decision, it was pretty black and white pardon the pun....

    An affirmative action (none / 0) (#39)
    by ChiTownMike on Tue May 26, 2009 at 09:55:36 AM EST
    stance coming from a minority is not necessarily a progressive stance. It sure doesn't mean she is a died in the wool progressive across the board.

    Besides affirmative action already has a SCOTUS expire date on it, doesn't it?


    Yet ANOTHER "East-Coast" Roman Catholic? (none / 0) (#7)
    by tokin librul on Tue May 26, 2009 at 08:44:05 AM EST
    This does not bode well, no matter what her 'record' may suggest. Every nominee since 1971 except Ginsberg has been MORE 'conservative' in their rulings than the Justice they replaced. Maybe she'll be an exception, but I doubt it.

    Is she a practicing/active catholic? (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Dr Molly on Tue May 26, 2009 at 08:45:17 AM EST
    Or just raised catholic?

    William Brennan (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by Molly Bloom on Tue May 26, 2009 at 08:49:27 AM EST
    East Coast. Roman Catholic.

    Earl Warren, Westerner, episcopalian (none / 0) (#41)
    by tokin librul on Tue May 26, 2009 at 09:58:06 AM EST
    If he were nominating someone with Brennan'sliberal chops/ethos, I guess I wouldn't mind so much...

    Well, if you're going (none / 0) (#20)
    by brodie on Tue May 26, 2009 at 09:02:15 AM EST
    with an Hispanic pick, there's probably a 75% chance that the person is going to turn out to be Catholic.  I'd prefer some diversity in this area too, especially for us non-religionists, but realistically you've got to be willing to accept some slight downside with any choice.  

    Including the continued lack of representation for the rather large segment of the population living West of the Mississippi.

    But we get gender, ethnicity, age and, probably, favorable center-left jurisprudence.  Not a bad pick.


    My reaction, exactly. The Catholic majority (none / 0) (#55)
    by Cream City on Tue May 26, 2009 at 11:02:56 AM EST
    on the Supreme Court remains -- and may be even more conservative on some issues with a Hispanic Catholic.  As a group, they're bringing back rationality against the fundies in the church on some social justice issues.  But on issues such as women's reproductive rights, this may be a worry.

    And I say this as a former Catholic, not fallen away but pushed away by the post-John XXII fundie backlash.


    cx: XXIII (none / 0) (#56)
    by Cream City on Tue May 26, 2009 at 11:03:23 AM EST
    I'm reserving judgment. (none / 0) (#16)
    by Sweet Sue on Tue May 26, 2009 at 08:57:10 AM EST
    Yet another Catholic?  Why don't we change the name from the Supreme Court to the Holy See and have done with it.

    What is this, 1850? (5.00 / 2) (#22)
    by andgarden on Tue May 26, 2009 at 09:04:02 AM EST
    Do people say things like that in public anymore?

    Well, given the question of (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by inclusiveheart on Tue May 26, 2009 at 10:35:19 AM EST
    disproportionate representation...  Just under 24% of the population is Catholic and we'd be looking at six out of nine Catholics on the court.  Whether Soromayor's religion is particularly germain to the discussion of her professional qualifications I am not sure, but it is pretty clear that Alito, Scalia, and Kennedy wear their religion on their sleeves.

    I really don't care how people spend their Sunday mornings, but I do care if their Sunday morning activities have a significant influence on our government and our laws.


    True (none / 0) (#52)
    by jbindc on Tue May 26, 2009 at 10:58:29 AM EST
    But since "Protestantism" is not a religion, but comprised of many different religious groups, Roman Catholics, at 24%, are by far the single largest denomination in the US.

    Still only a quarter. (none / 0) (#59)
    by inclusiveheart on Tue May 26, 2009 at 11:19:41 AM EST
    Not two-thirds.

    The fact is that people like Kennedy, Scalia and Alito are exactly why so many Protestants feared Catholics entering positions of high power in government for some many years.  It really has to do with the Pope's and the Vatican's laws as being a rival to the laws of what was supposed to be our rational and enlightened secular government.  The country was founded in part as a reaction to the Catholic church's stranglehold on political regimes.  A kind of hold that is much more difficult in the presence of a diversity of other religions - especially those who do not believe than a human person living on earth is divine and can speak for God himself - of course the Catholic model is now rivaled to some degree by the Evangelical community who invest a lot of faith in the proclaimations of their charismatic church leaders in a similar heirarchical structure.

    I started thinking a lot about this after hearing the comments of many of the Notre Dame Obama protesters who clearly believed that Papal Law superceded anything offered by the US government.  It made me think of Kennedy and how remarkable it was that my Grandmother worked so hard for him given her fear that the Pope would take over her government.  And then a few days later, PBS's American Experience series aired a long documentary about the Kennedy family.  A clip of John Kennedy speaking in West Virginia declaring his allegiance to a secular government and our Constitution was included.  He received resounding applause and cheers from the crowd.  Times have changed and not for the better imo.


    Maybe I shouldn't feel this way, (none / 0) (#62)
    by Anne on Tue May 26, 2009 at 11:30:56 AM EST
    but I am less concerned with a Catholic woman on the SC than I am a Catholic man.

    I could be wrong - I hope not - but I am just not as worried about her religious background influencing her decisions on this issue - the Catholic men on the Court, though - different story.


    If it makes you feel better, but (none / 0) (#63)
    by inclusiveheart on Tue May 26, 2009 at 11:46:10 AM EST
    I think it is really more of a question of whether or not there is a clear separation between Sotomayor's Sundays and Mondays.  Again, I don't know what her deal is on the religion front at all.  If she keeps them separate, I actually don't care.  But if she's going to be swayed by religious arguments from her colleagues or the Pope with respect to her decisions on the court, I'm going to care.

    Interestingly (none / 0) (#40)
    by Steve M on Tue May 26, 2009 at 09:55:45 AM EST
    There have been 11 Catholic Supreme Court Justices in all of recorded history.  5 of them are on the Court as we speak!

    If Sotomayor is confirmed, those numbers go up to 12 and 6, obviously.

    I suppose it speaks in part to the growth of the Catholic Church over the years, but I think it says more about how disfavored Catholics were as a group throughout much of our history.  Poor Al Smith.


    Would this be an opportunity... (5.00 / 1) (#45)
    by EL seattle on Tue May 26, 2009 at 10:10:44 AM EST
    ... for the Catholics of the Supreme Court (and the Catholic nominee) to come out with a few public statements against those within the church who try to use the denial of Communion as leverage to influence the work of elected politicians or similar public servants?

    Indeed (none / 0) (#43)
    by andgarden on Tue May 26, 2009 at 10:03:06 AM EST
    Hoover almost won Alabama in 1928, incidentally.

    Careful (none / 0) (#49)
    by Socraticsilence on Tue May 26, 2009 at 10:28:07 AM EST
    We might get a lecture about how that Papist Al Smith is going to answer to the Pope.

    Yes. I'm the first to say it (none / 0) (#57)
    by Cream City on Tue May 26, 2009 at 11:09:07 AM EST
    this morning, and as a former Catholic, and one who remembers well the appalling backlash in 1960.  Not 1860.  Then again, maybe I should not have just reread Angels and Demons about the Illuminati. . . .

    But wouldn't it be odd and worth noting if, say, the high court was two-thirds Baptist?  Jewish?  etc.  And in the case of the Catholic belief system, and authoritarian adherence to it, it is cause for raising questions.  If she can answer them as well as JFK did, fine.


    And besides (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by jbindc on Tue May 26, 2009 at 09:14:56 AM EST
    Catholic dogma (aside from abortion and gay marriage) is pretty much a left-wing philosophy.  You know, things like social justice, feeding the poor, taking care of the least among us in society, etc.

    Add to that, something like 85% of American Catholics believe in the use of birth control and actually are torn on abortion.  My guess is it's the same with gay marriage (hey, I come from a large Catholic family and most of us are all for gay marriage).

    So to say that a Catholic will rule on cases a certain way is presumptive at this point.


    And all of that holds so true (none / 0) (#44)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Tue May 26, 2009 at 10:06:43 AM EST
    with Roberts, Scalia, Thomas and Alito (all Catholic).  If she's confirmed, we would have SIX Catholic justices.  Not exactly a Demographic we need on the court.

    Sotomayer was first appointed by Bush the 1st.  Not a favorable sign IMHO.

    All we need is one more "torn" justice to side the wrong way, and buh-bye Roe v. Wade. But I'll be happy with that on one level because I'm sick of the blackmail on the subject.  And I've always thought that a Democrat would be responsible for appointing the deciding judge on the overturn.  And I might be proven right.

    It's true that a Hispanic appointee is likely Catholic...however, Obama might have found a Hispanic Catholic with a little bit of positive history on choice rights, rather than practically none...if he'd tried or really cared about it...and BTW the one case she heard, she ruled against a pro-choice group, maybe arguably for good reasons, but it certainly doesn't give any sound basis for confidence... I could see masking the issue if he didn't have such a huge majority in the senate but as it stands...

    You act as if choice rights are just a little thing....It is what keeps many women voting for Democrats.  


    I'm with you on the blackmail, though (none / 0) (#58)
    by Cream City on Tue May 26, 2009 at 11:12:50 AM EST
    and this campaign finally convinced me to be a former Democrat about it -- only the final slap in the face after so many from the party that backed anti-choice candidates for Congress and more.

    Roe v. Wade barely exists in so many areas, anyway, that the end of dishonesty and expediency on the part of the Democratic party could be just what is needed to energize a new generation to win it back.


    She Was Appointed by CLINTON (none / 0) (#70)
    by Inspector Gadget on Wed May 27, 2009 at 09:07:56 AM EST
    Not Bush.

    The people calling in to (none / 0) (#21)
    by Anne on Tue May 26, 2009 at 09:03:22 AM EST
    Washington Journal are cracking me up.  One woman gave the "I'm all for women, but not this woman" line, and opined that she'd be okay with Sotomayor if it weren't for the fact of all those Clintonites in the Cabinet and all the Clinton influence.  Oh, and she would have liked Kagan, whom she thought was the AG and had more experience.

    The next caller thought he would like to see a non-lawyer nominated, since the clerks and the paralegals do so much of the work.


    I wish we could hear more about (none / 0) (#23)
    by andgarden on Tue May 26, 2009 at 09:05:16 AM EST
    what she believes. I guess we don't know much about that.

    Don't worry. All we're (none / 0) (#24)
    by brodie on Tue May 26, 2009 at 09:11:59 AM EST
    going to hear from the Repubs in this period will be how Sotomayor believes courts should make law and not follow the law and precedent.  Also we'll hear how she favors discrimination against non minorities in employment.

    Also, she did say, contra Ginsburg and O'Connor, that being a woman should make a difference in how certain cases could be decided.  This seems to make sense to me, but we'll hear considerable howling about it from the Right.


    Heh (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue May 26, 2009 at 09:13:30 AM EST
    I wish liberal would demand a bit more information too.

    I am for full disclosure.


    iI support a litmus test. (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by oculus on Tue May 26, 2009 at 09:42:53 AM EST
    Heh (none / 0) (#35)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue May 26, 2009 at 09:47:02 AM EST
    Me too.

    Glad to see another woman and a minority (none / 0) (#28)
    by vicndabx on Tue May 26, 2009 at 09:18:04 AM EST
    will be added to the court to provide some diversity of views.  

    It also doesn't hurt that she's representing my borough the Bronx.  :-)

    Benjamin cardozo (none / 0) (#31)
    by jedimom on Tue May 26, 2009 at 09:43:12 AM EST
    was the first hispanic` SCOTUS justice....

    Well (none / 0) (#34)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue May 26, 2009 at 09:46:24 AM EST
    if you think so, then that is your perogative.

    I do not.

    I love Cardozo btw.


    uhmm (none / 0) (#38)
    by jedimom on Tue May 26, 2009 at 09:49:34 AM EST
    how is he not? is obama not the first black potus then?

    be consistent


    The experience (5.00 / 0) (#42)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue May 26, 2009 at 09:59:21 AM EST
    that Cardozo lived was of an American Jew (when that was a tremendous barrier to advancent), not a Hispanic.

    Obama lived the experience of an African American.


    SNORT ! (1.00 / 0) (#47)
    by jbindc on Tue May 26, 2009 at 10:22:52 AM EST
    My guess is, Obama did NOT live the life of a typical AA.  Between being raised by upper middle class white grandparents in multi-cultural Hawaii, and living in Indonesia, he did not encounter the same struggles as AA's in Detroit, Chicago, or Mobile.

    Ahh (5.00 / 0) (#48)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue May 26, 2009 at 10:26:38 AM EST
    Well, with due respect, I think you do not understand the effect skin color has in someone's life.

    Exactly (5.00 / 0) (#50)
    by Socraticsilence on Tue May 26, 2009 at 10:33:35 AM EST
    pretending Obama didn't live the life of an African-American male is to ignore the historical truth of American race relations- if you look black then you're black- Tiger Wood's half-Asian how often do you hear him referred to as the "first Asian-American golfer" to accomplish whatever feat?

    It could be argued that what (none / 0) (#68)
    by Anne on Tue May 26, 2009 at 04:36:59 PM EST
    affected Obama more than the color of his skin was being abandoned by his father, and to some extent, by his mother.  Always found it odd and rather sad that Obama never seemed particularly bonded to the new family his mother established and in which she had another child - I have to stop and remind myself from time to time that he has a half-sister, as she is not much of a presence in his life - or so it seems.

    Both parents with Ph.D.'s (1.00 / 0) (#60)
    by Cream City on Tue May 26, 2009 at 11:20:35 AM EST
    for starters does not suggest the typical African American experience in the formative years, and it shaped his atypical aspirations through his educational years, too.  Obama certainly gained insight into the more typical experience when he got to Chicago, but he already was part of the black elite.  And that is not typical -- or it wouldn't be called the black elite.

    That is part of his canny planning, his atypical years as a community organizer to gain insight -- but that's not the same as experiencing it as a kid in the projects.  Fascinating that Sotomayor has that.  


    Can't Really Speak to Typical, Myself (none / 0) (#64)
    by daring grace on Tue May 26, 2009 at 01:35:50 PM EST
    But I don't think it's relevant when your dad has a Ph.D when you only meet that dad once or twice (?) in your life.

    And the part about being raised by a single mom and/or with a mom, stepfather, blended family and g. parents in the house does seem 'typical' of many African American children's experience.

    But, you're right: Obama didn't grow up in the projects in a place like Chicago where he could experience up close life in AA culture. He grew up as a minority in a white/Hawaiian/Asian and Asian American culture which, of course, had its own lessons to teach him.


    Interestingly, educational level of a dad (none / 0) (#66)
    by Cream City on Tue May 26, 2009 at 01:50:03 PM EST
    is very predictive, even if it's an absent dad, and especially for boys.

    Agree with much else you say here -- although again, it's typical to have the extended-family experience of being raised by grandparents, but not white grandparents.:-)


    FWIW (none / 0) (#67)
    by jbindc on Tue May 26, 2009 at 02:06:13 PM EST
    The US government disagrees with you in 49 CFR 26.5 (the definition that's used in the contracting race preference programs administered by the Department of Transportation):

    Hispanic Americans are defined as

    persons of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Dominican, Central or South American, or other Spanish or Portuguese culture or origin, regardless of race.

    Not to take away from anything - just an interesting point. I understand how Latinos must feel today and I'm very happy about that.


    oyez.org (none / 0) (#37)
    by jedimom on Tue May 26, 2009 at 09:49:05 AM EST
    here is Cardozo brief bio:


    hispanic and new yawkah :0)

    and jewish too! a threefer

    but addresses the all hispanics are Catholic argument I hope lol, guess some folks are unaware of Portugal....


    I'm Missing Something (none / 0) (#65)
    by daring grace on Tue May 26, 2009 at 01:43:54 PM EST
    I followed your link and I see the references in their bio of Cardozo to his being Jewish and a New Yorker, but where does it say he's Hispanic (Or Portuguese?).

    I'm not saying he isn't. Just didn't see it at that site...


    Should it be (none / 0) (#46)
    by mg7505 on Tue May 26, 2009 at 10:17:11 AM EST
    surprising that we don't know that much about her views? It seems reminiscent of the uncertainty re: Obama's views. Or is that expected for appeals court judges because they're not as much in the public eye (high-profile decisions aside)?

    Life imitates art again (none / 0) (#61)
    by Cream City on Tue May 26, 2009 at 11:29:49 AM EST
    as the West Wing episodes about the appointment of a fictional Justice Roberto Mendoza (Edward James Olmos) come to mind -- and the opposition.  Could be an interesting road map to what is ahead for the confirmation, in some ways.

    First Hispanic Supreme Court Justice (none / 0) (#69)
    by lfeld on Tue May 26, 2009 at 05:33:59 PM EST
    Maybe being a Jew disqualifies him, but Cardozo also was of Hispanic ancestry.  Also. it was the Dems who fillibustered against the nomination of  Miguel Estradao put forth by the Bush administration.

    Of course, in this day and age when we should all be judged by 'the content of our characters' it shouldn't make a difference.  Right is right and wrong is wrong, and in those cases where it matters judges have always had the comfort of discretion.