I want to answer to a commenter on a recent post about Supreme Court Nominee Sonia Sotomayor. This is an argument that my readers might be interested in. First, let me say that Rightardia followed our comment rules and made his point rationally and this is a good debate, so I will leave his comments here for all to review. Thank you Rightardia for your comments. By the way I will link his blog so that the readers here can see an opposing view if they like. The comments are below, but before we get to Sotomayor, let me correct some things that were said. First, "The Conservative Majority" is not a misnomer because according to polls done as late a July 15th a majority of Americans consider themselves to have become more conservative than liberal. Refer to this article from Gallup.com. (link) A July 15th Poll from the same site has these results.
40% consider themselves conservative
35% consider themselves Moderate
21% consider themselves Liberal.
Second, I could care less about the ABA ranking as the ABA has been very inconsistent over the years in who they give their highest ranking to.
Third, I realize that Sotomayor will be confirmed, but I doubt if it will be by 75. I still contend that this is a nomination that should be fought simply because of Sotomayor's legal aptitude.
On her record, of the decisions that have been reviewed by higher courts, including the Supreme Court, her record is as follows:
Overturned - 8
Upheld with Bias by the court (which means that they disagreed with her statutory reasoning) - 2
66% of her reviewed cases have been overturned. That does give her one of the higest overturn rates of any sitting judge. Of the four that were upheld, two held at fault her judicial reasoning behind the decision. Is that the type of Justice we need on the bench?
The cases are listed below. I stand by my post, these are my facts.
Sotomayor will be confirmed. Ge over it. She is replacing a center left justice who is retiring so the change on the court is a wash. All the GOP is trying to do is activate their base.
If one of the conservative justices retires in the next 3.5 years, a real fight will s art because it will threaten the 5-4 conservative majority. You post is 'much ado about nothing.'
July 21, 2009 4:53 PM
You are absolutely wrong. She is replacing a an almost far left justice who had the distinction of being appointed by a center right Republican President. The responsibilities of the Supreme Court and how they affect our Constitutional liberties is much ado about everything. This Justice is far to the left of who she will replace, and her incompetence as judge is reflected in the fact that she is one of the most overturned judges on the federal bench. I wonder if she, the "Constitutional law professor" who has appointed her, or any other Democrat in Washington has even bothered reading the Constitution.
July 21, 2009 6:50 PM
Check Intrade. Sixty five per cent of Intraders expect her to get 75 votes. You are misinformed about Sotomayor's judicial record. She has been overturned by the Supremes less than her peers.
She also got the ABA highest rating. Where do you get your information--Rush? He isn't a journalist and doesn't have a degree.
BTW the term 'conservative majority is a misnomer. You are the minority.
July 22, 2009 5:09 AM
Cases Reviewed by the Supreme Court
• Ricci v. DeStefano 530 F.3d 87 (2008) -- decision pending as of 5/26/2009 (OVER Turned)
• Riverkeeper, Inc. vs. EPA, 475 F.3d 83 (2007) -- reversed 6-3 (Dissenting: Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg)
• Knight vs. Commissioner, 467 F.3d 149 (2006) -- upheld, but reasoning was unanimously faulted*
• Dabit vs. Merrill Lynch, 395 F.3d 25 (2005) -- reversed 8-0
• Empire Healthchoice Assurance, Inc. vs. McVeigh, 396 F.3d 136 (2005) -- Upheld 5-4 (Dissenting: Breyer, Kennedy, Souter, Alito)
• Malesko v. Correctional Services Corp., 299 F.3d 374 (2000) -- reversed 5-4 (Dissenting: Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg, Breyer)
• Tasini vs. New York Times, et al, 972 F. Supp. 804 (1997) -- reversed 7-2 (Dissenting: Stevens, Breyer)
• Affirmative Action (New Haven firefighter case): Sotomayor was part of a three-judge panel that ruled in February 2008 to uphold a lower court decision supporting the City of New Haven's decision to throw out the results of an exam to determine promotions within the city's fire department. Only one Hispanic and no African-American firefighters qualified for promotion based on the exam; the City subsequently decided not to certify the results and issued no promotions. In June 2008, Sotomayor was part of a 7-6 majority to deny a rehearing of the case by the full court. The Supreme Court agreed to review the case and heard oral arguments in April 2009. Ricci v. DeStefano 530 F.3d 87 (2008)
• Environment (Protection of fish at power plants): Sotomayor, writing for a three-judge panel, ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency may not engage in a cost-benefit analysis in implementing a rule that the "best technology available" must be used to limit the environmental impact of power plants on nearby aquatic life. The case involved power plants that draw water from lakes and rivers for cooling purposes, killing various fish and aquatic organisms in the process. Sotomayor ruled that the "best technology" regulation did not allow the EPA to weigh the cost of implementing the technology against the overall environmental benefit when issuing its rules. The Supreme Court reversed Sotomayor's ruling in a 6-3 decision, saying that Sotomayor's interpretation of the "best technology" rule was too narrow. Justices Stevens, Souter, and Ginsburg dissented, siding with Sotomayor's position. Riverkeeper, Inc. vs. EPA, 475 F.3d 83 (2007)
•* Taxes (Deductability of trust fees): In 2006, Sotomayor upheld a lower tax court ruling that certain types of fees paid by a *trust are only partly tax deductable. The Supreme Court upheld Sotomayor's decision but unanimously rejected the reasoning she adopted, saying that her approach "flies in the face of the statutory language." Knight vs. Commissioner, 467 F.3d 149 (2006)
• Finance (Rights of investors to sue firms in state court): In a 2005 ruling, Sotomayor overturned a lower court decision and allowed investors to bring certain types of fraud lawsuits against investment firms in state court rather than in federal court. The lower court had agreed with the defendant Merrill Lynch's argument that the suits were invalid because the Securities Litigation Uniform Standards Act of 1998 required that such suits be brought only in federal court. The Supreme Court unanimously overturned Sotomayor's ruling in an 8-0 decision, saying that the federal interest in overseeing securities market cases prevails, and that doing otherwise could give rise to "wasteful, duplicative litigation." Dabit vs. Merrill Lynch, 395 F.3d 25 (2005)
• Health Insurance (Reimbursement of insurance benefits): In 2005, Sotomayor ruled against a health insurance company that sued the estate of a deceased federal employee who received $157,000 in insurance benefits as the result of an injury. The wife of the federal employee had won $3.2 million in a separate lawsuit from those whom she claimed caused her husband's injuries. The health insurance company sued for reimbursement of the benefits paid to the federal employee, saying that a provision in the federal insurance plan requires paid benefits to be reimbursed when the beneficiary is compensated for an injury by a third party. The Supreme Court upheld Sotomayor's ruling in a 5-4 opinion. Justices Breyer, Kennedy, Souter, and Alito dissented. Empire Healthchoice Assurance, Inc. vs. McVeigh, 396 F.3d 136 (2005)
• Civil Rights (Right to sue federal government and its agents): Sotomayor, writing for the court in 2000, supported the right of an individual to sue a private corporation working on behalf of the federal government for alleged violations of that individual's constitutional rights. Reversing a lower court decision, Sotomayor found that an existing law, known as "Bivens," which allows suits against individuals working for the federal government for constitutional rights violations, could be applied to the case of a former prisoner seeking to sue the private company operating the federal halfway house facility in which he resided. The Supreme Court reversed Sotomayor's ruling in a 5-4 decision, saying that the Bivens law could not be expanded to cover private entities working on behalf of the federal government. Justices Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg, and Breyer dissented, siding with Sotomayor's original ruling. Malesko v. Correctional Services Corp., 299 F.3d 374 (2000)
• Intellectual Property (Distribution of freelance material): As a district court judge in 1997, Sotomayor heard a case brought by a group of freelance journalists who asserted that various news organizations, including the New York Times, violated copyright laws by reproducing the freelancers' work on electronic databases and archives such as "Lexis/Nexis" without first obtaining their permission. Sotomayor ruled against the freelancers and said that publishers were within their rights as outlined by the 1976 Copyright Act. The appellate court reversed Sotomayor's decision, siding with the freelancers, and the Supreme Court upheld the appellate decision (therefore rejecting Sotomayor's original ruling). Justices Stevens and Breyer dissented, taking Sotomayor's position. Tasini vs. New York Times, et al, 972 F. Supp. 804 (1997)