Filed under: Judiciary
A remembrance via twitter:
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: 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.”
Connecticut’s Supreme Court legalized gay marriage today in a 4-3 decision:
“Interpreting our state constitutional provisions in accordance with firmly established equal protection principles leads inevitably to the conclusion that gay persons are entitled to marry the otherwise qualified same sex partner of their choice,” the majority wrote. “To decide otherwise would require us to apply one set of constitutional principles to gay persons and another to all others.”