Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Pres. Obama picks Sonya Sotomayor for SCOTUS

Pres. Obama picked Appellate Judge Sonya Sotomayor for his first nominee to the Supreme Court.

First, they both made a brief statement, see the video below;

Here is the reaction from some of the members of the Judicial Committee.

From Sen. Patrick Leahy, who is traveling in Afghanistan visiting the troops there, Pres. Obama called him to advise him of his pick. This is what he had to say and the link to the full statement.

Judge Sotomayor has a long and distinguished career on the federal bench. She has been nominated by both Democratic and Republican presidents, and she was twice confirmed by the Senate with strong, bipartisan support. Her record is exemplary. Judge Sotomayor’s nomination is an historic one, and when confirmed she will become the first Hispanic Justice, and just the third woman to sit on the nation’s highest court. Having a Supreme Court that better reflects the diversity of America helps ensure that we keep faith with the words engraved in Vermont marble over the entrance of the Supreme Court: “Equal justice under law.”


As he promised, President Obama has handled this selection process with the care that the American people expect and deserve. The Senate in good faith should match the President’s confidence-building steps in the way we now proceed with this nomination. Some groups in the Republican base have said they are ‘spoiling for a fight,’ no matter who was nominated. Republican Senators up to now have generally shown more responsibility than that, and the American people will want the Senate to carry out its constitutional duty with conscientiousness and civility.

Among the most serious constitutional duties entrusted to Congress is the confirmation of Supreme Court Justices. President Obama has announced his choice, and the Senate will now prepare for fair and thorough confirmation proceedings. There are more than 300 million Americans; only 100 Senators will vote on this nomination. We have a solemn duty to the Constitution and to the American people. This will not be decided by the interest groups on the left or the right. I trust that no Senator will seek to apply a different standard to this nominee than was applied just four years ago when the Senate considered President Bush’s nominations to the Supreme Court.

I will work closely with Senator Sessions as the Judiciary Committee prepares for confirmation hearings. We are committed to ensuring that the next Justice is seated before the Court’s term begins in October. I hope all Senators will treat this nominee fairly and will respect the Committee’s confirmation process.

From CQ Politics there is this list of bullet points about her background and Judicial Track Record.

Judge Sotomayor's Background:

Born to a Puerto Rican family, Judge Sotomayor grew up in a public housing project in the South Bronx. Driven by her mother's belief in the power of education and her own indefatigable work ethic, Sotomayor excelled in school, graduating as valedictorian of her high school class and winning a scholarship to Princeton University.
After graduating summa cum laude, and Phi Beta Kappa, she entered Yale Law School, where she served as an editor of the Yale Law Journal.
Out of law school, Judge Sotomayor became an Assistant District Attorney in Manhattan, where she tried dozens of serious criminal cases over five years and was known as a "fearless and effective prosecutor."
She entered private practice in 1984, and worked as an international corporate litigator handling cases involving everything from intellectual property to banking, real estate and contract law.

Judge Sotomayor's Judicial Track Record

If confirmed for the Supreme Court, Judge Sotomayor would bring more federal judicial experience to the Supreme Court than any justice in 100 years, and more overall judicial experience than anyone confirmed for the Court in the past 70 years.
She has been a big-city prosecutor and a corporate litigator, a federal trial judge on the U.S. District Court, and an appellate judge on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.
Before she was promoted to the Second Circuit by President Clinton in 1998, she was appointed to the District Court for the Southern District of New York by President George H.W. Bush - a show of bipartisan support that proves good judging transcends political party.
As a trial judge, she earned a reputation as a sharp and fearless jurist who does not let powerful interests bully her into departing from the rule of law. In 1995, Judge Sotomayor ended the baseball strike by issuing an injunction against major league baseball owners.
In 1998, Judge Sotomayor became the first Latina to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, one of the most demanding circuits in the country. She has participated in over 3000 panel decisions and authored roughly 400 opinions, handling difficult issues of constitutional law, to complex procedural matters, to lawsuits involving complicated business organizations.
Judge Sotomayor is widely admired as a judge with a sophisticated grasp of legal doctrine and a keen awareness of the law's impact on everyday life. She understands that upholding the rule of law means going beyond legal theory to ensure consistent, fair, common-sense application of the law to real-world facts.
Known as a moderate on the court, Sotomayor often forges consensus and agreeing with her more conservative nominees far more frequently than she disagrees with them. In cases where Sotomayor and at least one judge appointed by a Republican president were on the three-judge panel, Sotomayor and the Republican appointee(s) agreed on the outcome 95% of the time
Judge Richard C. Wesley, a George W. Bush appointee to the Second Circuit, said "Sonia is an outstanding colleague with a keen legal mind. She brings a wealth of knowledge and hard work to all her endeavors on our court. It is both a pleasure and an honor to serve with her. "

There are also some concerns she may not be "liberal enough".

Most liberal groups issued very favorable reactions today to President Obama's choice of Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court.

But the Center for Reproductive Rights says the Senate Judiciary Committee needs to press Sotomayor about her views on abortion. Sotomayor, a 2nd Circuit appeals court judge and a former federal district court judge, has not ruled on the constitutionality of abortion rights.

"Please take the next step with us and send a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick J. Leahy to demand full disclosure from Judge Sotomayor on her commitment to the principles of Roe v. Wade," the group said in an e-mail this evening.

In a 2002 case before the 2nd Circuit, Center for Reproductive Law and Policy v. Bush, Sotomayor wrote an opinion upholding the constitutionality of a U.S. government policy that required foreign organizations receiving U.S. aid not to either promote or perform abortions, even with other funds. Obama rolled back that policy on Jan. 23 with an executive order.

Professor Jonathon Turley hinted this morning while talking to Tweety, that he had read 30 of her opinions and he was not impressed by her level of knowledge. He thought she was shallow and not all that bright.

It was very wild the way he said it. I am not sure if he was jealous or what his problem was. Maybe he thought he should have been picked...lol I would like to know what his grade point average was. It will be interesting also to see if he continues with this.

That is strictly a right wing talking point and it was stunning to hear it from such a far liberal person as Turley.

I think it is a good pick from all I have read. Of course the usual suspects went nuts, as in Rush, Beck, and the wing nuts at Faux News. That right there tells me it must be a brilliant pick.


Patricia said...

Interesting point about Turley. He hasn't been happy with anything Obama has done lately. It seems like even regular commenters on his own blog have noticed this. I read about what he said earlier and by tonight on Olbermann he seemed to have moderated his views quite a bit. As to the right, they're being truly disgusting, as well as racist and sexist, IMHO. This is going to be interesting.

Matt Osborne said...

Souter couldn't have timed his decision better. This moment is going to reveal just how powerless the GOP has become.

Fran said...

If it really upsets Rush Limbaugh, it must be a good choice!

At least she is no Harriett Meyers!
She actually is well qualified.

But I do want a pro choice person, because Bush has loaded the court with anti choice people.

How many days will they spend with that one topic alone???

When it comes to the supremes, one vote does make a difference.

I Hope Obama only puts forth liberal left wing choices so the Senate will be forced to pick one no matter what! We need balance- of gender & leanings.

Mauigirl said...

Overall I am very happy with the choice. I am hoping of course that she is pro-choice but it seems to me that would be something he may be aware of even if there is no clear evidence out there one way or the other.

K. said...

Excellent post -- very informative. I'm linking to it from Citizen K.