Tuesday, May 26, 2009

And the Supreme Court Pick Survey Says....Sonia Sotomayor!

A few posts back we talked about who the next pick for the nation's highest Court will be to replace retiring Associate Justice David Souter. Well now it is official: Sonia Sotomayor is President Obama's pick to be the next Associate Justice to the Supreme Court of the United States. Throughout the 218 year history of the Supreme Court, she will be the 3rd woman (after Sandra Day O'Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsberg) and the first latina to ever serve on the bench.

About a week ago, the rumor mill narrowed the President's choices down to four ladies, federal Judge Diane Wood, Solicitor General Elena Kagan, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, and federal appellate Judge Sonio Sotomayor. From those choices, President Obama chose Sotomayor who will now have to be confirmed by the Senate.

Speaking of the Senate, this will make for an interesting confirmation hearing for the Republicans. Do they really want to make a case against the first latina Supreme Court Justice? The better question, perhaps, is can they make a case against her?

She does not have a long record on hot-button topics like abortion or gay-marriage. She graduated from Princeton Univeristy and then from Yale Law School where she made the law review (Yale Law Journal). After she graduated from law school she went on to become a prosecutor and she currently has more federal judicial experience than anyone nominated to the Suprme Court in over 100 years. Although the conservative blogosphere has tried to paint Sotomayor as a raging liberal or a "judicial activist," her judicial record is actually quite moderate ideologically. There is, however, one possible Achilles' heel that the Republican's could go after if they are so inclined: Ricci v. DeStefano.

A few posts back we talked about Ricci v. DeStefano, which as you may recall was the recent controversial case about the white fire fighters who sued the city in Connecticut for racial discrimination because it threw out the promotion tests when it saw that no black fire fighters passed the promotion exam. Remember that one? Well that case came out of the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals where Sotomayor is currently a judge, and Sotomayor was on the panel of 3 judges who voted against the white fire fighters in that case and in favor of the City throwing out the test. The white fire fighters later appealed the decision handed down by Sotomayor et al., which sent the case up to the Supreme Court where it currently is awaiting a decision. Oh, and by the way, did I mention that the Supreme Court's 5 conservative members are actually expected to reverse Sotomayor's ruling on that case which could make for a very awk-waaaaaard confirmation hearing.


All that said, what do you think about this pick by Obama and the potential static that lays ahead during her confirmation?

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