Thursday, July 9, 2009

More Sotomayor

"Of the many responsibilities granted to a President by our Constitution, few are more serious or more consequential than selecting a Supreme Court Justice."
--The Obama, 26 May, 2009

And lo, the Obama didst nominate Sonia Sotomayor to fill the latest vacancy on the Supreme Court.

Submitted for what it's worth, the Center For Individual Freedom, a right-wing think-tank (if such a thing can rightly be said to exist) offers the following assessment of Sotomayor's rulings in First Amendment cases:
"While Sotomayor has been involved in hundreds of First Amendment cases since her appointment to the federal bench, a review by the Center for Individual Freedom found that she has personally authored only nineteen cases that bear directly on issues of free speech and association, freedom of religion, and freedom of the press. Of those nineteen cases, Sotomayor sided with the individual (the First Amendment) only five times, or a mere 26.3 percent."
To be fair, the Center is a right-wing organization and one of the cases on which they claim Sotomayor ruled against speech (Landell v. Sorrell) was in upholding Vermont's limitations on campaign donations, which is very questionable as a "speech" matter. A lot creepier is another case cited by the Center (Doninger v. Niehoff), in which she ruled that "students could be subject to school sanctions for off-campus speech that 'would foreseeably create a risk of substantial disruption within the school environment,'" in that case, a student who had criticized school officials in a personal blog!

Meanwhile, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the Democratic chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee held a press conference today to argue that Sotomayor was "moderate" on criminal cases. His evidence is that a review of Sotomayor's decisions in more than 800 criminal cases prepared by the Democratic staff of the committee showed that she ruled with her Republican-appointed colleagues 97% of the time.

Leahy cites this approvingly.

Sort of says something about what's considered "moderate" these days, eh?


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