Filed under: Judiciary
Sotomayor, who was raised in a Bronx housing project and attended some of the nation’s most prominent universities, spoke of the inspiration that both her family and the law have provided.
“I chose to be a lawyer and ultimately a judge because I find endless challenge in the complexities of the law,” she said. “For as long as I can remember, I have been inspired by the achievement of our founding fathers. They set forward principles that have endured for more than two centuries. . . .
“It would be a profound privilege for me to play a role in applying those principles in the . . . controversies we face today,” the president’s nominee said. “I am an ordinary person who has been blessed with extraordinary opportunities and experiences.”
Sotomayor, 54, has a life story with a compelling narrative, the kind likely to appeal to many of the senators who will consider her confirmation to the high court.
Her parents moved to New York City from Puerto Rico during World War II, and Sotomayor was raised by her mother in housing projects in the South Bronx after her father, with a third-grade education, died during her childhood. Her father’s death came one year after Sotomayor was diagnosed with diabetes — a diagnosis she says spurred her to give up her dream of law enforcement for a career in law.
Sotomayor graduated from Princeton University and Yale University’s Law School, where she was an editor of the Yale Law Journal.
“I stand on the shoulders of countless people,” she said as the president presented her for nomination today.
“Yet there is one extraordinary person who is my life’s inspiration,” she said of her mother, in the audience. “My mother has devoted her life to my brother and me. . . . She often worked two jobs to help support us after Dad died. I have often said that I am all I am because of her. And I am only half the woman that she is.”
Out of school, Sotomayor secured a job as an assistant district attorney in the Manhattan office of the legendary Robert Morgenthau. She was working in private practice before Bush named to her to the federal district court.
Sotomayor not only has legal wisdom, Obama said, but also “the wisdom accumulated from an inspiring life’s journey.”
Among the 450 cases that she has been involved in, the president cited one, an injunction in the Major League Baseball strike, ordering team owners to return to bargaining. “Some say the judge, Sotomayor, saved baseball,” Obama said.
Born in the South Bronx, she was raised near Yankee Stadium, the president noted of his nominee, a “Yankee fan.”
Yet some conservatives are critical of Sotomayor, whom they consider a “judicial activist,” signaling a robust debate over Obama’s appointment as the Senate Judiciary Committee holds expected confirmation hearings in July.
“Judge Sotomayor is a liberal judicial activist of the first order who thinks her own personal political agenda is more important that the law as written,” said Wendy E. Long, court counsel for the Judicial Confirmation Network, in a statement issued today. “She thinks that judges should dictate policy, and that one’s sex, race and ethnicity ought to affect the decisions one renders from the bench.”
Sotomayor has long been viewed as a potential Supreme Court choice, and her nomination rewards Latino advocacy groups, who have long championed a Latino nominee. Obama was elected president with a strong majority of the nation’s Latino vote, and community leaders have urged both Obama and his predecessor to nominate a Latino justice. Sotomayor has frequently spoken about her Latina identity.
In a speech at UC Berkeley in 2001, Sotomayor suggested that her background and heritage helped guide her decision-making. “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,” Sotomayor said.
That quote — and that speech — will be cited by opponents, who will charge that Sotomayor will not serve as the sort of neutral “umpire” that Chief Justice John Roberts claimed to be during his confirmation hearings in 2005. Instead, they will argue that Sotomayor will favor disadvantaged groups over others.
Filed under: National Life
From the book, Who’s Your City? via Andrew:
Are the Democrats gain? Possibly – do we have a realignment on our hand?
Take a look at what Gallup‘s recent poll says and make your own conclusions:
And those Millennials that I am so obsessed with:
As was shown earlier, the GOP’s loss in leaned support over this time is evident among nearly every subgroup. The losses are substantial among college graduates, which have shown a decline in GOP support of 10 points. (The losses are even greater — 13 points — among the subset of college graduates with postgraduate educations.) This may reflect in part Barack Obama’s strong appeal to educated voters, a major component of his winning coalitions in both the Democratic primaries and the general election.
CDM recently lobbied for Election Day Registration (EDR) in Massachusetts. One of SAPP’s new initiatives is to get more young people at BU to register to vote. Here’s why voter registration law needs to change – to benefit young people:
I’ve written multiple times, on many different blogs, about the need for fundamental voter registration reform. Normally I make that case on behalf of the young voter/voter registration community. The most recent data from CIRCLE put young voter turnout in 2008 at 51.1% - one of the highest rates ever, yet still lower than any other portion the electorate. But we also know that upwards of 80% of all registered young votersactually make it to the polls to cast their ballot – a turnout rate not much lower than that of the rest of the electorate.
The conclusion is simple, and one that we are all familiar with: voter registration is a barrier to participation, and reforming it could well be the single most effective means of creating lasting gains in voter turnout rates, especially among young people. Such reforms are in the works, and the proposed changes usually include some form of automatic registration and/or election day registration failsafes.
One of the biggest hurdles in achieving such reform is convincing the various local Secretaries of State that such reforms are in their interest and, rather than increase their burdens, will make their jobs easier. Secretaries of State will wield enormous influence over the outcome of a voter registration reform debate. Without their support, it will be difficult to convince Senators or Congressmen to sign on to any voter reform legislation. That’s why a new report by the US PIRG Education Fund on the cost effectiveness of voter registration reform is so important: Saving Dollars, Saving Democracy – Cost Savings for Local Elections Officials Through Voter Registration Modernization (pdf).
In a survey of 100 counties, the report found that:
- Over $33,467,910.00 of public money was spent on simple registration and error-correction issues in 2008.
- That equals $86,977.00 of the elections budgets in counties with populations under 50,000.
- The average office in counties with 50,000 to 200,000 people spent $248,091.00.
- The average county elections office in jurisdictions of 200,000 to around one million people spent $1,079,610.00.
- Some of the largest counties in our survey spent far more than this average, for example St Louis County, with a population of 995,118, conservatively spent over 3 million dollars on registration implementation and issues in the 2008 cycle.
In addition to the monetary costs of the current system, the report also outlines other inefficiencies that current boards of election routinely face, and which could be overcome through sensible reform of the registration process:
- Missing Information: inaccurate, incomplete, duplicated, or illegible forms;
- Citizen Confusion: a lack of clarity for any particular registrant concerning citizenship status;
- Overtime/Staffing: there are many problems and costs associated with hiring part-time staff or paying overtime to data-entry floods of forms in time for Election Day;
- Acknowledgment Cards: some states require a card be sent to registrants to confirm registration details;
- Reaching voters in rural areas: states face challenges when reaching out to register eligible citizens across a geographically complex rural jurisdiction; and
- Provisional ballot printings, mailings, and outreach: once a registrant is not accurately entered, HAVA requires that they be allowed to cast a day-of-election provisional ballot. States must provide said ballot, and then in order for it to count, states need to follow up with the voter and state to determine their registration status.
The report makes a number of recommendations on what effective, efficient reform would look like:
- A federal mandate should be passed to require affirmative and automatic registration. Specified and privacy-protected data transfers and information sharing should occur from federal and state databases to the state voter rolls as a means of continuously updating the list. By eliminating the data entry and duplicate and error verification follow-up responsibilities of local officials, there will be large cost savings at the county level.
- Federal funding should be provided to make it possible for states to implement this mandate.
- States should also use specified private database transfers or information sharing to keep citizens on the rolls permanently at their most up-to-date address.
- States should perform same-day balloting as a catch-all for citizens.
The full report offers regional, state, and municipal data on all of the inefficiencies outlined above. At some point in the next few years, we are likely to face a fight in congress over voter registration reform. Ground zero in that fight will be convincing local Secretaries of State that they should be in favor of reform rather than the status quo. This new report(pdf) by US PIRG Education Fund is an invaluable information for those looking to construct effective arguments in favor of reform.
And an EDR bill comes up at the CT State Capitol in debate next week. Check here for updates on that.
Over a week without any posts? Who am I turning into?
If you’re wondering what’s going on – I moved home, started my internship, and started working (Target starts next week though… grr), and I’m catching up with my family (friends get home next week). So I’ve been a little busy.
My “To Do” list this summer is quite long – setting up 2 new groups at BU, researching law schools, starting to study for the LSATs, reading the books I was supposed to read last summer (so I can finally buy some new books), working on research for my Work for Distinction thesis, and training for the Boston Marathon. I’m pretty busy.
If you want to read – and I’m not saying you would, because I mean, I do know I’m a bit crazy (and nerdy) – some of the research I’m doing for my Thesis, check out my delicious links, they’re at 261 now and growing – and they all need to be read, annotated, noted, and catalogued by the end of August. But moral of the story is, my delicious gets updated more than this blog.
We saw what Obama’s online game did in 2008.
We saw the start of a netroots-based challenge in the Lieberman – Lamont race of 2006.
And we saw the emergence of the blogs and online campaigning with Dean in 2004.
So what does 201o hold for the world of online politics, campaigning, and organizing. Who will the liberal netroots target?
The answer – right-leaning and weak Democrats.
MoveOn is already attacking Arlen Specter the newest member of the Democratic Party along with six other Democrats on bankruptcy reform legislation that was changed.
Filed under: Judiciary
Well Alan Dershowitz doesn’t think so “He’s a mediocre lawyer. He’s a mediocre governor… He wouldn’t push Obama’s agenda.”