Obama announced hours ago his first pick for Supreme Court by nominating Judge Sonia Sotomayor. Let's start by pointing out that Judge Sotomayor has more qualifications then anyone currently sitting on the Supreme Court did when they were first nominated.
But what about her views?
Clearly she's a radical liberal who in her own words believes in making policy from the bench.
One of the more troubling bits of evidence against her is her part in a panel that ruled against the New Haven fire department (Ricci v. DeStefano). In this case the panel which Sotomayor was part of ruled that a municipality can decline to certify an exam that has a disproportionate ratio of whites to minorities passing it.
The lead plaintiff in the case is Frank Ricci, who has been a firefighter at the New Haven station for 11 years. Mr. Ricci gave up a second job to have time to study for the test. Because he has dyslexia, he paid an acquaintance $1,000 to read his textbooks on to audiotapes. Mr. Ricci also made flashcards, took practice tests, worked with a study group, and participated in mock interviews. His hard work at studying resulted in him getting the 6th highest score, among 77 people who took the test. The city of New Haven scrapped the test results for fear of a would-be Title VII disparate impact lawsuit brought by minority firefighters.
Frank Ricci had a promotion taken from him after long hard work because of the color of his skin and Judge Sotomayor was part of the panel that felt this was acceptable.
All that said Republicans need to vote yes to appoint her.
Why? Simple, to prove they understand the Constitution and are a better party over all then the Democrats and President Obama.
For starters let us look at the wording of the Constitution itself:
He [the president] shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, judges of the Supreme Court, and all other officers of the United States, whose appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by law: but the Congress may by law vest the appointment of such inferior officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the courts of law, or in the heads of departments.
While Senate can and should give advice against this appointee it is ultimately the choice of the president and if she if found to be qualified, which no one can argue that Judge Sotomayor isn't, then they have no reason to vote against her.
That said, Obama and Democrats have already tossed this part of the constitution aside by voting against John Roberts when Bush II nominated him suggesting that it is ok for Senate to vote for or against a judge not because of their qualifications but because of political views. This idealism is wrong and is out right anti constitutional so I would hope Republicans do not sink to the level of the Democratic party despite this nominee being radical left wing and bad for the country.
This puts Republicans in a no lose situation though. They can oppose her and seek to block her just as Democrats attempted with Justice Roberts and Republicans can point to Obama himself who took part in this attempt to block and Democrats will have nothing to say in return. Or Republicans can use this to rise above and say while Democrats choose to oppose one of our qualified choices based on idealism over qualifications we as Republicans would rather stick to the wording of the US Constitution and follow the rules that our country was built upon.
Supreme Court Reviews of her cases:
- Ricci v. DeStefano 530 F.3d 87 (2008) -- decision pending as of 5/26/2009
- 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) -- reversed 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)