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  • Morning Bell: The Sotomayor Pattern

    Yesterday’s Supreme Court opinion in Ricci, the New Haven firefighters case, provides a window to what will inevitably be a significant line of questioning in Judge Sotomayor’s confirmation hearings. After all, Judge Sotomayor not only reached the wrong decision in this case, allowing overt racial discrimination in protection of what were essentially soft racial quotas, but she did so in a dismissive one-paragraph opinion which seemed calculated to bury the case from future review. Both her dismissive treatment of important rights in this and a prominent Second Amendment case, and the apparent bias that these cases display will likely be fertile ground for questions in her confirmation hearings.

    In response to the Supreme Court’s opinion, defenders of Sotomayor have attempted to paint her opinion as one showing that she is not an activist. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said: “Some of the very concerns that members of the Senate have expressed about judicial activism seem to be, at the very least, upside down in this case. Her ruling on the Second Circuit denotes that she’s a follower of precedent[.]”

    The only problem is that it’s just not true. But you don’t need to take our word for it. Clinton appointee to the Second Circuit, Judge José Cabranes, expressed his deep concerns about the dismissive approach utilized by Sotomayor and her colleagues in this case. Far from following precedent, Cabranes, in stating why he thought the full Second Circuit should have reviewed the Sotomayor panel’s decision, stated that “[t]he questions raised in this appeal . . . are indisputably complex and far from well-settled.” (emphasis added). He noted that the case raised issues of “first impression”—that is, questions never decided before by the Second Circuit. So much for just following precedent.

    Judge Cabranes added that Sotomayor’s panel’s “perfunctory disposition rests uneasily with the weighty issues presented by this appeal” and emphasized that in cases “[w]here significant questions of unsettled law are raised on appeal, however, a failure to address those questions-or even recognize their existence-should not be the approved modus operandi of the U.S. Court of Appeals.” He concluded with what is perhaps the core of the indictment against Sotomayor’s handling of this case: “this Court has failed to grapple with the questions of exceptional importance raised in this appeal.”

    Regrettably, Sotomayor has demonstrated a pattern of failing to grapple with questions of exceptional importance. In her opinion in Maloney v. Cuomo, in which she found that the Second Amendment does not apply to the states, she tersely declared that a state statute restricting possession of weapons does not implicate a fundamental right—the full consideration of which was measured in a handful of words. Like in the firefighters case, she concluded this without even grappling with the arguments–indeed without any explanation whatsoever.

    This is all the more troubling because of her statements embracing personal bias. In the very same speech where she issued the well-calculated and well-quoted assertion about the superior judgment of wise Latina women, she questioned whether it is possible for judges to overcome personal sympathies or biases “in all or even in most cases.” She even seemed to think that ruling based upon these biases is somehow patriotic: “I wonder whether by ignoring our differences as women or men of color we do a disservice both to the law and society.”

    Given these statements embracing bias, and her embarrassingly inadequate judicial treatment of both the firefighters case and the Second Amendment case, Senators taking up her nomination on July 13 will necessarily need to explore whether her short shrift treatment of serious statutory and constitutional issues in these cases is a reflection of her own biases, or whether, on the brighter side, it is simply an indication of incompetent judging.

    Quick Hits:

    • California, the state after which our national stimulus and environmental policies have been modeled, is now issuing IOUs to its creditors. Once the richest state in the nation, it now has the worst credit rating in the country.
    • President Obama announced another set of new national standards for more expensive light bulbs yesterday. He did not announce any plans for domestic exploration of energy.
    • Yesterday, President Obama condemned the ouster of leftist Honduras President Manuel Zelaya, adding yet another apology for the U.S. to his remarks, noting the U.S. has “not always stood as it should” with democracies in the region.
    • The President continues promoting his health care plan tomorrow evening in Annandale, VA. He will also be taking questions via Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
    • President Obama met with gay activists at the White House yesterday, in celebration of LGBT month. He promised them he would fight against the Defense of Marriage Act and asked for their patience on other issues.
    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    30 Responses to Morning Bell: The Sotomayor Pattern

    1. Cyberflyrg says:

      I am truely appalled at what has happened to our country and the direction that it is moving in over the last 6 months. I dont understand why our news media is not jumping on these stories and advocating or at least questioning the motivation behind these decisions being made by the Obama administration. I and most of my associates cannot believe the incredible turn that our country's administration has made from the existing status quo towards "Socialism" and heavy government administration. For the first time in my 59 years of life, I am truely worried about where our country is going.

    2. J.C. Hughes, Texas says:

      I already deal with "good old boy" judges at the local level. The last thing we need now is a "good old latina woman" on the supreme court. Playing favors is antithetical to justice.

    3. Ron Thompson says:

      No doubt Sotomayor will be picked up,using the same tactics as waxman used on the environmental bill. The Dems will keep the any objector away from the committee meetings, so that the Republicans will look like mean hateful people while questioning her. It was also, bad news when the senior Republican on the committee said they wouldn't filibuster the nomination. A free out for the Dems. Once again, Republicans pandering to the left, and look where we are now!

    4. Ken Jarvis - Las Veg says:

      I seldom agree with HF

      but this time YOU ARE RIGHT


    5. J.C. Hughes, Texas says:

      PS: The precedent is what she says it is. This is rule # 1 straight from the kangaroo court instruction manual.

    6. Robert Davis says:

      can you folks publish this EPA study re the earth warming being only a scam in r eality?? Lots of writing about it but noone seems to have a copy of it. Freedom of Information Act should get a copy from EPA. Democrats have really scammed Americans on this one so Al Gore and Pelosi can make millions on the carbon credits they cheer about. Sad day for America. Thank goodness Obamas ratings are beginning to fall.

    7. Ben C, Ann Arbor, MI says:

      What about the conmfirmation of Koh as "legal council" to the White House. This was buried under the Michael Jackson death but has huge significance. He will advise that some international laws supercede our constitution. This is absolutely wrong.

    8. Charles LaBounty, Me says:

      Cap & Trade –

      I've sent at 20 e-mails talk shows and FOX about the Republican vote.

      No one seems to be willing to bring up the fact that Republican Congressman, Jack McHugh from New York voted for the Cap & Trade Bill 2454 and he was just nominated for Secretary of the Army by obama.

      Politics are politics — but the blantan buying of votes by this administration is appalling.

      But on the other hand who is more disgusting the "buyer" or the "seller" (?)

    9. John Mulqueen, New R says:

      Be serious, Judge Sotomayor and her colleagues simply upheld precedent in disposing of the Ricci case. Four the 9 Supreme Court justices agreed with that decision. I agree with the five who overturned it, but the decision by that appellate group was not shocking. Those judges probably could have done more to explain their actions, even stated a justification that would have support the principles behind the affirmative action philosophy that would have done a better job of defending that policy ( a criticism of the short notice by liberals, by the way) but her action does not disqualify her for sitting on the Supreme Court. She is more than qualified by education, and experience as a lawyer and a judge.

    10. Joe White, Quinton T says:

      Ah, the sweet sound of blatant bigotry on her part [and the Empty Suit's]. Every Fourth of July, I read OUR Constitution our raison d'etre-; her comments make me wonder if she ever reads it again aside from the required course in law school. She shouyld not even be considered for dog-catcher with the evidence so far as to how she "thinks".

      This carbon verbal fertilizer is exactly what the Empty Suit wants to do- destroy the very country that was foolish enough to put him in our Office..but, it MUST be remembered that barely half voted for this person.

      Telling the world that it was acceptable for the ousted dictator-wanna-be from Honduras was wrong? Is this man a fool or what? He and his Kool-aid drinkers may abandon Israel, but the other half of us do not..

      Madoff could like his company.

    11. William Butler says:

      I think what scares me the most is the Supreme Courts close vote on this issue. This should have been a no brainer. I have to agree with Ron T. The Republicans are just like the Dems! A bunch of career politicians who care more about getting reelected than about our country. All of you bloggers out there please remember how your senators and congressman vote. We need "Country First" honest Americans working for us!

    12. Jake, LHC says:

      I don't trust a thing bagdad bob, axlehead, rambo the vulgar or obama says. I am sick of the Mafia style intimidation of Senators and Congressman to vote for foney fraudulent bills the adminstration wants not the citizens/taxpayers of this Great Nation and that has infiltrated Washington DC.

      Madoff got 150 year in prison for stealing $50 billion. How many years in prison is $10 trillion dollars worth.

      obama,ACORN, schummmmmmmmmmer, reid, peloski, frank, dodd, waters, have not even testified under oath for stealing taxpayers money.

      Carol Browner who was found in Contempt of Court for destroying EPA Records under Bill Clinton is in charge of Energy under obama. obama is incompetent, carol Browner shouldn't be allowed within in 1 mile of any EPA Records let alone be pushing new light bulbs. They can take their elcrapo tax and shove and put it where the sun don't shine. They won't need windmills and solar panels or new and approved not just mercury in them but maybe nuclear power in every bulb.

      How about building about 10 new Nuclear Plants every 10 years. Oh duh duh but that make be using common sense of which obama proves he has none.

    13. Seth W - Litchfield, says:

      Perhaps we should now consider giving CA back to Mexico? It seems they want each other and would mix well socially, politically and economically.

    14. Bob Elder, Saint Jam says:

      In the 1980s, I served on an accredited apprenticeship committee responsible to the Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training. Our conduct was under scrutiny and if any one of us would have made any of the kind of comments that Sotomayor has made, we would have been expected to resign or face the loss of our accreditation. I am amazed that Ms Sotomayor is even being considered and that she has displayed such a lack of honor by remaining a candidate or even on the bench for that matter. This administration is taking our country to a low that I thought I would never see. In the world’s eye, I am embarrassed for our country. Mr. Obama needs to add one more apology and that is for his own utter failure.

    15. Pamela Furubotten, P says:

      We do not need Sotomayor on the Supreme Court. Go help us!

    16. Al, The Villages, Fl says:

      Re: Honduras. Strange that President Obama was so fast out of the gate on this one and called it a coup. I believe this is a case of democracy in action. President Manuel Zelaya is term limited and tried to go around the constitution in an attempt to get term limits changed ala Chavez. As a result, he was placed under arrest by the attorney general who followed supreme court direction. Doesn't sound like a coup to me.

    17. Nelia, AZ says:

      Obama appears to identify with the dictators rather than leaders of countries who actually govern under constitutional law and a clean election system. His actions and reactions speak volumes and are cause for us to be especially vigilent. Unfortunately, with his picks in place in all the key positions, we may not have an attorney general or anyone in a seat of authority willing to uphold our constitutional law in a similar circumstance.

    18. Scott Soyer, Oro Val says:

      See statement by Senator Jon Kyl who is on the congressional committee here:


      I sent a kind letter to the senator asking to scrutinize her attitude and actions in the past to ensure no judicial activism may occur during her lifetime tenure.

      His statement from his website says: "…I will take great care in examining her record to ensure that she demonstrates personal integrity, a commitment to the rule of law, and a judicial temperament."

      Consensus says she'll pass, I say she is hanging by a thread. The committee just has to find the thread and cut it. The overturning of the New Haven Firefighters was one thread. There must be others in the past where she has shown her true colors. Having given a speech to a group sponsored by La Raza is a big hint…go get 'er Jon.

    19. Lee-White Tanks AZ says:

      Judge Bork


      Judge Sotomayor

      Is there a question??

      This woman is not intellectually in the same ball park as the current justices. She has no business being considered for this bench.


    20. Vallejo, Ca. says:

      Our New Democratic President reminds me of a Little Boy who has discovered a Bunch of New Toys,and don't know which one to Play with First or to just Break ! I only hope to God the American People will See This, and put a Stop to his ideas and changes before it's to late.

    21. David Sayers, NC says:

      This woman should not be on the bench. She should be treated in the same manner as Justice Thomas when raked over the coals by the democrats. It will be interesting to see who has a backbone because it will be a perfect opportunity to start putting a end to this marxist maddness. But quite frankly, I don't have too much faith in any of them. What a sorry bunch.

    22. Brenda Cregor, Centr says:

      President Barack Obama stated Sotomayor had both the intellect and compassion to interpret the Constitution wisely.

      When selecting an individual to interpret the highest law of the land, the Constitution, is compassion a quality which should either disqualify or make the person eligible for a supreme position of judgment?

      A man named Alma once explained how mercy can appease the demands of justice, only through divine intervention, after the demands of justice have been met, and the individual has repented.

      He asked, " How could there be a law save there was a punishment [justice]?…What, do ye suppose that mercy can rob justice? I say unto you, Nay; not one whit. If so, God would cease to be God."

      The United States Supreme Court motto is simply stated: “ Equal Justice Under Law ”.

      Justice looks objectively on facts, not feeling, facts which are tangible, not malleable, as are the thoughts associated with compassion and empathy.

      Which one of us, when looking upon the total breadth of life experiences of any individual(s), criminal or victim, would not be sympathetic or merciful when viewing the effects of their hardships and the complexities of human nature upon their existence?

      Passion creates prejudice, which endangers justice.

      Compassion can indeed rob justice, and then my friends, what good is the law?

    23. Patrick Moran, Honol says:

      This is finaly being brought OUT INTO THE OPEN for the general public to take a view of HOW the "underground" Democratic Party operates when given the reins of government. JUST ANOTHER CHICAGO GROUP OF THUGS WANTING TO SOCIALIZE EVERYTHING IN SIGHT AND RUIN THE STANDARDS OF A JUST, FREE AND TRULY RIGTHEOUS AMERICA! There's much more to come under Obama, the Nation of Islam's perfect "sleeper" imposter! Trained in Indonesia by the best for the worst! We in Hawaii KNOW him!

    24. Worldbfree4me says:

      Wow, why so much negativity and resentment? What happened to "love thy neighbor." If only we could rewind the tape back 50 years or so. It was once written, "be careful who you look down on, because someday you may have to look up to them." Even in a racists mind, President Obama is half right! After the last 8 years of winning or getting everything you sought after, its now time for you to sit back and enjoy the ride:)

    25. Spiritof76 says:

      In spite of all of our protests about Sotomayer, she will be confirmed with Al Franken making the Democrat Senators a fillubuster-proof majority.

      I am just disgusted with the state of our country with no guiding principles represented in the Congress.

      Obama is a dictator. He loves all the dictators around the globe. The military and the government officials in Hnduras are defending their constitution by enforcing the term limits. Obama felt very comfortable in meddling with that country and essentially took the sides of Chavez and Ortega.

      Obama and Sotomayer are ideologically one and the same-anti-white and anti-American. It is amazing to see how many people follow him like the crowd did Rev.Jones a few decades ago.

    26. Rose C says:

      Prejudicial opinions and decisions as well as bias and gender bias decisions have been rendered (mainly by White Male judges only until recent times when other races, women, and ethnicities entered into the judiciary) since time began. Many decisions from the bench are based on favors; gender; race; ethnicity; economics; sexual orientation, connections, bribes, politics as well as hanging judges or activist judges who make up their own laws as they go along for whatever reasons.

      In this case, Judge Sotomayor is a novelty because she's a woman and to top it off a woman of latin descent who has allegedly made prejudicial decisions, but it's definitely not unusual for judges to render unfair, unjust, and unobjective decisions and judgments in courts across the nations. That's why we have Motions for Reconsideration, Statements of Decision, and Appeals if you can afford it. If Judge Sotomayor hadn't made ethnicity an issue nor Obama made ethnicity and race an issue then it probably wouldn't have been a major news issue, but they did. And, La Raza is not a group in my opinion that any judge should be a member because they are politically active. Although, we'd like to believe that all judges are fair – reality is that all judges are just people with personal and private opinions. Judges have good and bad thoughts like everyone else, but their decisions affect every citizen as well as the way our country will lean – one wrong decision can cause the scales of justice to lean to the extreme left and it would be very difficult to make them right for many years to come.

    27. Judith of The Great says:

      I know this is off topic but, the frosting on the cake of far-left radical liberalism is the announcement today that Sen Norm Coleman (R-Minn) has conceded the senate race to that pillar of respectability, Al Franken. Let's hope Mr. Franken has paid his thousands of dollars in back taxes he owed.

      With his style of speech, C-Span and the Senate floor will have to be X-rated, but he will fit right in with all of the other Democrat swindlers in congress.

      With a filibuster-proof majority now, do you think they (The Crooks) will take advantage of the Republican minority?

    28. Arnie Stender, Tn. says:

      Why should anyone be surprised at Mr. Obama's support for Manuel Zelaya. After all the ex-leader of Honduras was trying to do the same thing Obama is, destroy democracy.

    29. Cardozo, Atlanta says:

      Looks like Ramesh Ponnuru's got your number, Mr. Alt: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/24/opinion/24ponnu

    30. Dave McDuffie, Aliso says:

      I only have two words to describe the predicament we have alowed ourselves to be shepparded into: WERE SCREWED!

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