Judge Sotomayor's Legal Opinions

Update: CNN factsheet on Judge Sotomayor.

Thanks to ScotusBlog for its analysis of Judge Sonia Sotomayor's legal opinions in civil cases and cases in which at least one judge dissented. There are some criminal cases in the "dissent" category.

As for the arguments that will be made against her appointment, ScotusBlog lists and analyzes four. [More...]

Opponents’ first claim – likely stated obliquely and only on background – will be that Judge Sotomayor is not smart enough for the job.
The second claim – and this one will be front and center – will be the classic resort to ideology: that Judge Sotomayor is a liberal ideologue and “judicial activist.”
The third claim – related to the second – will be that Judge Sotomayor is unprincipled or dismissive of positions with which she disagrees.
...Critics will characterize her as gruff and impersonable, relying on excerpts from oral arguments and anonymous criticisms in the Almanac of the Federal Judiciary.
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    Bad part of the article (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue May 26, 2009 at 09:06:13 AM EST
    "The attacks are inevitable and tremendously regrettable, just as they were for Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito.  A cottage industry - literally an industry, given the sums of money raised and spent - now exists in which the far left and right either brutalize or lionize the President's nominees.  Because the absence of controversy means bankruptcy, it has to be invented by both sides, whatever the cost to the nominee personally and to the integrity of the judiciary nationally."

    What nonsense. the attacks, such as they were, on Roberts and Alito, were about their merits to be on the SCOTUS. Calling them extreme conservatives was accurate.

    I hate the idea that judicial nominees can;t be judged on their judicial philosophy and views on issues. It is absurd.

    Consider this nonsense (none / 0) (#2)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue May 26, 2009 at 09:07:21 AM EST
    "Because proponents' and opponents' claims about nominees are provided for public consumption through the mass media, they involve bumper sticker messages; there is not much nuance.  Almost always, they collapse into assertions of ideological extremism, as when some on the left attempted to portray John Roberts as a (secret) ideologue and single-minded tool of the government and corporations against individuals.

    The public reaction to Roberts' confirmation illustrates that Americans thankfully still think for themselves and that the White House's most effective tool may be the nominee herself.  But beyond a short statement at the announcement and fleeting remarks during courtesy visits to Senators, the nominee's appearance at actual hearings won't come for six weeks, which could be too late to repair her image if a sustained assault from the right actually took hold in the meantime.  Controlling the narrative in the short-term will be essential."

    And Roberts is what exactly? It mars the article beyond redemption.


    The "intellectual firepower" (none / 0) (#6)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue May 26, 2009 at 09:31:25 AM EST
    argument was front and center the moment I turned on my TV this AM from every reporter and "analyst" on CNN-- always couched as the ability to counteract Alito's.  The GOPers have been busy little bees.

    Turley unvreiled it (none / 0) (#7)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue May 26, 2009 at 09:38:50 AM EST
    A tool of the first magnitude.

    Goldstein (none / 0) (#9)
    by Steve M on Tue May 26, 2009 at 09:47:35 AM EST
    is not exactly a disinterested party.

    As a frequent advocate before the Supreme Court, it obviously serves his personal interests to bemoan just how awful the confirmation process is.  Gosh, Your Honor, I couldn't tolerate all those outrageous partisan attacks on a distinguished jurist like yourself, what an outrage.

    Even at the highest court in the land, the apples need to be polished.


    True (none / 0) (#11)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue May 26, 2009 at 09:53:07 AM EST
    I'm just reporting (none / 0) (#3)
    by Jeralyn on Tue May 26, 2009 at 09:13:19 AM EST
    what the arguments will be against her and Scotus' blog analysis of them. I'm not agreeing or disagreeing with them.

    I know (none / 0) (#4)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue May 26, 2009 at 09:16:23 AM EST
    Just pointing out the parts that really annoy me.

    keep going (none / 0) (#8)
    by Jeralyn on Tue May 26, 2009 at 09:42:19 AM EST
    All the arguments against her are specious.

    If the Republicans (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue May 26, 2009 at 09:50:59 AM EST
    have any brains left at all, they will put up only a token fuss and then vote overwhelmingly to confirm her.  It makes zero sense politically or in terms of judicial "philosophy" to go to the mattresses on this appointment.

    She's not going to change the character of the court's decisions, and if they seriously rough her up or somehow even manage to keep her off the court, they'll absolutely kill themselves with Hispanic voters for a long time to come.


    true, but that's a big if (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by kempis on Tue May 26, 2009 at 09:57:55 AM EST
    The GOP increasingly seems unhinged....

    But they will (none / 0) (#14)
    by ColumbiaDuck on Tue May 26, 2009 at 10:33:56 AM EST
    Because for them, it's about the next battle.  They might not be able to stop Sotomayor, but they can make it so difficult that Obama thinks twice before nominating a "non-moderate" (read:  Republican) next time.

    Does anyone know of any (none / 0) (#13)
    by dk on Tue May 26, 2009 at 10:32:04 AM EST
    critiques (either positive or negative) from the left regarding her judicial opinions?  A very quick glance at the links Jeralyn provided show that many of her opinions (as is the case with any judge) weren't particularly controversial, and often turned on rather technical points.  Just wondering if there have been other analyses that actually provide indications as to her ideological point of view?

    James Robertson (none / 0) (#15)
    by jarober on Tue May 26, 2009 at 10:57:24 AM EST
    So a simple question then.  This seems to be ok:

    "For example, the New York Times reported that in 2001, at the annual Judge Mario G. Olmos Law and Cultural Diversity Lecture, Sotomayor had this to say:

    "I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life." "

    If you flipped that around it would clearly (and for good reasons, I might add) disqualify the person saying it from any significant office.  So is it ok for non-whites to disparage whites in public now?

    Boy, that's progress.  Hateful comments are ok, so long as they are made by the right people with the right opinions.  How that differs from the 19th century view isn't terribly clear to me, at least.

    Heh (none / 0) (#16)
    by Steve M on Tue May 26, 2009 at 11:01:41 AM EST
    That's a "hateful comment"?  What a joke.  You might try quoting the entire context - if you've even read it yourself.

    ya, fox is plastering this quote all (none / 0) (#17)
    by of1000Kings on Tue May 26, 2009 at 01:52:50 PM EST
    over the tv...

    but not once have they said the context of the quote...not once...

    fair and balanced, lol....


    James Robertson (none / 0) (#18)
    by jarober on Tue May 26, 2009 at 01:53:42 PM EST
    I have read it.  What I'm saying (and what you missed) is that no one on the left would tolerate the statement if you flipped "white male" and "latina" in the sentence.

    Which is sort of the point.  

    Amazing (none / 0) (#19)
    by Steve M on Tue May 26, 2009 at 02:31:24 PM EST
    You clearly have not read it.  Gawd, the things that pass for arguments these days.

    James Robertson (none / 0) (#20)
    by jarober on Tue May 26, 2009 at 02:48:43 PM EST
    I have, and my point is this: The left would not care a bit about any sort of context if you flipped the statement around.

    Animal Farm is back; some animals are more equal than others.  

    lol... (none / 0) (#21)
    by of1000Kings on Tue May 26, 2009 at 06:46:24 PM EST
    listen to rush today...