Monday, June 29, 2009

Judge Sotomayor, Don't Take It Personally ...

Welcome to The Club !! SCOTUS Overturns Sotomayor's Most Notable Appeals Court Case ....

There can't be more embarrasing things for a Supreme Court Justice-To Be Than to have one of his/her decisions be overturned, right before they're getting ready to be appointed. It's like when little lids first try to learn to ride a bike - they're so cute when they're still learning !!!

Well, that happened today, when Judge Sonia Sotomayor's landmark Appeals Court ruling on the New Haven Fire Fighters Case was overturned 5-4 by the US Supreme Court. The complaint was filed by 17 white and 1 Hispanic firefighters that passed a promotional exam, but the City of New Haven disallowed the results, because no African-American firemen passed the exam. The essential ruling of the majority opinion was that even if the end result is unfair, unless the plan itself is racially unfair, then it is OK.

For those of you wondering if the case would have been ruled differently, Justice Souter voted with the minority opinion, so Sotomayor wouldn't have changed anything - except that no one would be listening to her..... Hey, I just found a nickname for her.... Sonia Sotomayor - SoSo !!!! That's about how great a justice she'll probably be too....... Think I'll have it copyrighted.

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4 comments:

pluvlaw said...

I'll completely copy my response to your comment from my blog and paste it here:

It should not be a big deal. If you look at the decision, SCOTUS acknowledges that it was an unsettled issue. In other words, the lower court was faced with a question that had not yet been answered and they provided an answer. 4 of the 9 justices thought the lower court got it right. 5 did not. That's not being an "activist" judge. That's a judge interpreting the law as they see it and making a decision.

As a practicing atty, I admire judges who come down on making the call (when there is no established answer) versus those who pass it on to the higher court. It's how the system operates and it works.

Anonymous said...

Mike--calling Sotomayor SoSo at this point is giving her way to much credit.Her nomination is due only to her heritage and her gender.If she had been a man she never would have made the list. Is it too much to say we hope she does not have a long career on this bench?...teg

Mike Reino said...

Yeah those farmers and gentlemen of leisure got it pretty right 230 years ago... Check and balances indeed

pluvlaw said...

Did her gender and heritage help her nomination? Sure. Is she undeserving of the nomination? No. As to the first question, if you think her life has been easier b/c of that gender and heritage...well, okay. I would say that is ridiculous. Anyone who has read about her young life would know there was no benefit to being a latina woman growing up in the world she did.

As to that second question, her academic record closely resembles Alito's except that she exceeded him.

Most often, she has been ridiculed as a racist for her "latina woman" remark. Below is the comment in full. Personally, I believe the more experience one has in life, the better person it makes you. We all here are familiar with the phrase "that which does not kill us makes us stronger." More often than not, the best lawyers I know are attorneys who came from a hard-scrabble life, who got their asses knocked in the dirt over and over again, and those experiences made them better attys. Why? People they understand more types of people better and they can use that understanding to better represent their clients.

In my reasoning, it stands to reason that the same applies to Judges.

"Judge Cedarbaum... believes that judges must transcend their personal sympathies and prejudices and aspire to achieve a greater degree of fairness and integrity based on the reason of law. Although I agree with and attempt to work toward Judge Cedarbaum's aspiration, I wonder whether achieving that goal is possible in all or even in most cases. And I wonder whether by ignoring our differences as women or men of color we do a disservice both to the law and society. Whatever the reasons... we may have different perspectives, either as some theorists suggest because of our cultural experiences or as others postulate because we have basic differences in logic and reasoning....

“Our experiences as women and people of color affect our decisions. The aspiration to impartiality is just that—it's an aspiration because it denies the fact that we are, by our experiences, making different choices than others....

“Whether born from experience or inherent physiological or cultural differences, a possibility I abhor less or discount less than my colleague Judge Cedarbaum, our gender and national origins may and will make a difference in our judging. Justice O'Connor has often been cited as saying that a wise old man and wise old woman will reach the same conclusion in deciding cases.... I am... not so sure that I agree with the statement. First... there can never be a universal definition of wise. Second, 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.”