Thursday, May 28, 2009

Sotomayor for Supreme Court

Pres. Obama has tapped Second Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor to replace outgoing Justice Souter on the Supreme Court.

Sotomayor is being widely applauded by Democrats and liberals as a great pick, and it's looking like she will sail to an easy seat on the SCOTUS... making her the third woman and the first Latina to ever serve on the bench. Her experience is widely applauded and seems to the be "ideal" in terms of all those little things we like to see when we talk diversity -- unless, of course, you're Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh or Newt Gingrich who are going so far as to call her a racist. Of course, there are two other major complaints about her: 1) that she's not the smartest judge in the country, but is, instead, strong willed and opinionated... which I'm trying to figure out how much different that makes her than conservative firebrand Antonin Scalia, and 2) she made a statement in 2005 that alluded to the fact that judges help make policy:
"All of the legal defense funds out there, they are looking for people with court of appeals experience because the court of appeals is where policy is made," she said, laughing a bit through the next part: "And I know this is on tape and I should never say that because we don't make law. I know. Okay, I know. I'm not promoting it. I'm not advocating it. I know."
That particular quote keeps popping up over and over again, but the incarnation I chose to use is from a Huffington Post article entitled Sonia Sotomayor, Supreme Court Nominee: All You Need to Know. Though it's been fun to wade through article after article on Sotomayor trying to glean good information, that particular one sums it up very nicely:
  • She has only ruled once on any abortion policy, supporting Bush's Mexico City Policy, preventing the government from funding overseas groups that provide abortions. The pro-lifers are down playing that opinion as "not that influential."
  • She has never ruled on an LGBT issues, but her personal and professional history indicates that she is supportive, though no word on marriage.
  • She will be one of the most experienced justices to ever sit on the bench.
  • She "saved baseball" in 1995 when she ruled in favor of the players during the strike over the wishes of the owners.
  • She was originally nominated to the Federal Circuit by George H.W. Bush and received wide Republican support. Though, now, she'll be in a much more volatile position, so I have no doubt many more will challenge her.
Again, I'm still learning about her, and I have no doubt most of our opinions will be shaped by the hearings in the Senate... but, so far... so good. I like this one. It's certainly better than Samuel Alito. Jeez.

Also check out these articles: from On Top Magazine, applause from LGBT folks over the appointment of Satomayor, including from the National LGBT Bar Association (which I didn't even know existed...); and an important reminder that abortion and marriage are not the biggest things that SCOTUS rules on, and we should be asking where Satomayor stands on executive power, instead.

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