President Barack Obama has chosen Judge Sonya Sotomayor of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit as his nominee for the Supreme Court to replace retiring Justice David Souter. The formal announcement will be made by the president later this morning.
It should come as no surprise to anyone that Obama would continue playing identity politics by nominating an Hispanic woman. Sotomayor, 54, is also of the most radical liberal activist judges he could have nominated.
In a presentation that will likely lean heavily on style over substance, Sotomayor’s background will allow the administration to again play class warfare with their presentation of her biography. The daughter of Puerto Rican parents growing up in the South Bronx, her father was a manual laborer and her mother a nurse. Her father died when she was 9.
Sotomayor went on to attend Princeton and then Yale Law School before working as a New York assistant district attorney. Former Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan worked a confirmation deal with the first President Bush to nominate Sotomayor to the Second Circuit.
In one of the biggest sources of the coming Sotomayor controversy, is her conduct in the New Haven, Connecticut firefighter case that’s now on appeal to the Supreme Court.
In Ricci v. DeStefano, Sotomayor sided with the City of New Haven that was alleged to have used racially discriminatory practices to deny promotions to firefighters. Sotomayor joined a per curiam opinion that went so far as to bury the white firefighters’ crucial claims of unfair treatment. Judge Jose Cabranes, a Clinton appointee, chastised her in writing for apparently missing the entire host of Constitutional issues that were before the court.
According to Judge Cabranes, Sotomayor’s opinion “contains no reference whatsoever to the constitutional claims at the core of this case” and its “perfunctory disposition rests uneasily with the weighty issues presented by this appeal.”
(To judge just how bad the Ricci opinion is, even liberal Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen, wrote of his dissatisfaction with the case, stating, “Ricci is not just a legal case but a man who has been deprived of the pursuit of happiness on account of race.”
Ironically, Sotomayor’s dreadful decision in Ricci is under review at this time by the Supreme Court with an opinion expected by the end of June when David Souter, the justice Sotomayor is nominated to replace, has announced his retirement.
In another example of her radical judicial philosophy, Sotomayor stated in a 2002 speech at Berkeley that she believes it is appropriate for a judge to consider their “experiences as women and people of color,” which she believes should “affect our decisions.” In the same speech, Sotomayor went on to say, “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.” She restated her commitment to that unlawful judicial philosophy at a speech she gave in 2005 at Duke Law School when she reiterated that the “Court of Appeals is where policy is made.”
The Obama administration has made claims in the media that Sotomayor would be the first Hispanic on the court, which is not entirely accurate. Benjamin Cardozo, a Sephardic Jew of Hispanic ancestry, served on the Supreme Court from 1932-1937. Cardozo traced his ancestry to Portugal, yet there is a mixed bag of which government agencies consider Portugal to fall under the Hispanic umbrella. It is accurate to say Sotomayor, should she be confirmed, would be the first Hispanic woman on the court.