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Sotomayor for the Supreme Court - Zer Netmouse
May 27th, 2009
12:39 pm

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Sotomayor for the Supreme Court
btw, regarding the Supreme Court nomination, RH realitycheck writes:

Sotomayor's trail of opinions paints a picture of a fair-minded, incisive legal scholar who is unafraid to stake out unpopular but legally meritorious positions. Right-wingers are going to oppose her nomination with full force - we would be foolish to do it for them.


I quite agree with that last bit. With regard to her history, I still don't know a lot, but the NYT article has a lot of links, here's a bit on the empathy thing, and here's Obama's own video about it.

ETA: comments lead me to read this Salon.com discussion by Greenwald, which is also good and contains links to more material relevant to the topic.

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From:tlatoani
Date:May 27th, 2009 05:55 pm (UTC)
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I'm concerned about her beliefs on abortion rights, as (1) we've never seen her directly rule on it, and (2) she's yet another Catholic and the official position of her church is obviously anti-Choice.
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From:netmouse
Date:May 27th, 2009 06:09 pm (UTC)
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While it's true she would be the 6th Roman Catholic on a 9-member panel, I find myself wondering about the majority of cases the court actually rules on, which don't have to do with abortion, and the potential for her to do positive things and have an amazing impact on the country and peoples' lives there. Re: abortion, I trust her to follow the rule of law, and I'm not actually sure there are going to be more cases on that topic hitting the supreme court in the near future. Do you expect some?

The quote I put above is from a reproductive health newsletter, an advocacy group for both womens' health and womens' rights with whom I have been consistently impressed since I found out about them a short while ago. To be perfectly honest I rate their endorsement of her track record higher than your concerns about her beliefs.
From:tlatoani
Date:May 27th, 2009 07:16 pm (UTC)
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I find myself wondering about the majority of cases the court actually rules on, which don't have to do with abortion, and the potential for her to do positive things and have an amazing impact on the country and peoples' lives there.

While it's certainly true that there are a lot of issues other than abortion, a 6-3 majority to overturn Roe v. Wade would mean that women could be forced, effectively at gunpoint, to carry a child to term against their will. That is so vile, in my book, that your statement is to me morally equivalent to saying "So she might allow the court to bring back slavery, but look how much good she could do on other issues." I think you're saying it because you don't believe abortion rights are actually at risk, but I don't share that level of confidence.

It is possible that the group your quoting knows more about her beliefs on this topic than I do, in which case I'd defer to them too.

Re: abortion, I trust her to follow the rule of law,

Not sure what you mean on this one. The Supreme Court is allowed to overturn its own decisions.

and I'm not actually sure there are going to be more cases on that topic hitting the supreme court in the near future. Do you expect some?

Of course. There always are, and with Scalia, Thomas, Roberts, and Alito on the court it's a great time for the religious right to try to assert God's ownership of women's wombs. Kennedy can go either way. Which way Sotomayor would go is a vitally inportant question.
From:tlatoani
Date:May 27th, 2009 07:17 pm (UTC)
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(And apparently I can't type today. Forgive the typos... ;-)
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From:netmouse
Date:May 27th, 2009 06:33 pm (UTC)
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ps. I know plenty of catholics who are pro-choice, which is something I find a little baffling but have encountered enough that I do not consider membership in the church to be positive proof of someone's beliefs one way or the other, all by itself.

Sotomayor did decide against a group of people who were trying to sue to overturn Bush's decision to remove federal funding to overseas groups that provided abortions. I don't know the legal details of that case, however.
From:tlatoani
Date:May 27th, 2009 07:18 pm (UTC)
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I don't consider it to be either. The problem is, we don't know about her beliefs, and the two pieces of information I have, while of very little use in guessing, both lean negative.
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From:sueij
Date:May 30th, 2009 02:35 am (UTC)
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The Catholic Church actually asserts the "primacy of conscience," which says that each Catholic should get all the information, especially considering and valuing the Church's doctrine, and then make their own prayerful decision.

Unfortunately, even most Catholics don't know about this, since it's not in the Church's interest to have its members off making their own (informed) decisions. So most Catholics who hold differing opinions based on their own research, consideration, and prayerful process just figure they're "bad" Catholics.
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From:spacecrab
Date:May 27th, 2009 06:15 pm (UTC)
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Are you convinced by Obama? I'm not so sure.
See Avedon's comments here. Yes, the Republicans
are blasting Sotomayor, but I'm inclined to agree with
Avedon's analysis that it's, um, a sideshow.
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From:netmouse
Date:May 27th, 2009 06:29 pm (UTC)
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well, I don't know how to respond to Avedon's comments other than to suggest you read other peoples comments in response to that post, one of which describes Sotomayor as being pro workingclass, something that contrasts strongly with Avedon's description of her as prefering the powerful to The People. Someone posted that they don't know how she could be seriously considered if she's not a corporate shill, but I similarly don't know how she could be a corporate shill with the personal baackground and connections she has.

Also, as someone pointed out, Greenwald likes her.

I don't know if any first candidate for such a contentious position is someone the nominator truly expects to pass muster and get the position - not a lot of history of that with the supreme court - but I think this nomination is on the whole a positive gesture, both doable and liveable if it goes through.

Edited at 2009-05-27 06:29 pm (UTC)
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From:spacecrab
Date:May 27th, 2009 10:32 pm (UTC)
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The thrust of Avedon's post that I took is that Sotomayor may be competent, professional and sane, but all the Republican attacks on her for being a liberal don't actually make her one -- and she's tired of defending Obama's non-crazy but right-of-center (by progressive standards) policies and appointments in response to Republican fantasies and accusations about how these policies and appointments are actually "dangerous liberal threats." I agree with her that the Republicans must be perfectly happy with their ability to attack Obama as a "dangerous liberal" when what he actually does seems to be mostly to the right of Dwight D. Eisenhower.

I'm sure there are many worse choices for the Court than Sotomayor, and she may be a better nominee than any of the sitting Supremes. As Ted White said on one of the e-lists. "She's just his first candidate." I'd like to take some comfort in that -- but I have a hard time making myself believe he'll actually move left, later on. I want to see Earl Warrens, Warren Bergers, and Learned Hands -- male or female, Black, White, Latino, Native American -- actual progressives who'll fight for social justice on the Court.
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From:netmouse
Date:May 28th, 2009 04:28 am (UTC)
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I agree with her that the Republicans must be perfectly happy with their ability to attack Obama as a "dangerous liberal" when what he actually does seems to be mostly to the right of Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Well, yes, the accusations of "liberal" left-edness are ridiculous and sad and the general illogic of the Republican party (plus the fact that so much of the media rolls with it) is also a travesty. My point is that doesn't make this a bad candidate.

No, she's not an ultra-liberal social activist candidate, but I agree with many who suggest we'd still have a hard time passing one of those through right now (though I still have issues with the democratic party, I feel forced to concede that the best way to push liberal candidates is to elect mediocre democratic candidates to congress instead of horrible republican ones - contribute to their campaigns in all states, I say, and sigh.)

What I really hope is that we get a chance to replace one of the right-wing judges and really change the slant of the court.
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From:dd_b
Date:May 27th, 2009 06:35 pm (UTC)
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I've heard, and not yet found details, that she's been reversed "a lot". Until I know something about the cases and her rulings (always assuming there's anything at all to it) I don't know what that means. It suggests (granting it's true for the moment) that she's either not good, or else out of the legal mainstream in her decisions. The second wouldn't have to mean I didn't support her, of course. Anyway, still looking for substantiation and details.

Being on the Supreme Court means never being reversed by a higher court, after all.
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From:dd_b
Date:May 27th, 2009 07:37 pm (UTC)
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Tom Goldstein presents a good (readable and detailed) summary of her opinions here, including discussions of at least two times she's been reversed and one where she's likely to soon. There may be one reversal not accounted for, or I may have lost count.

The article is based on a review some people conducted previously, it doesn't say why; but that means it's not hurried work, it was researched at leisure.

I don't know what normal numbers of reversals are for a judge of her experience, but the cases discussed do not bother me. I'm pretty much in favor of her after reading that article. Even the one anti-second-amendment case is arguably an unwillingness to ignore a Supreme Court precedent at the Appellate court level rather than an opposition to the obvious fact that the second amendment should apply against the states just as much as the first, third, and fourth. And the others.
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From:troubleinchina
Date:May 28th, 2009 05:04 pm (UTC)
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*waves hello* Hi! I was that person who kept randomly introducing herself to you because you looked awesome, but I kept forgetting that I already had (woe for ConBrain).
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From:netmouse
Date:May 28th, 2009 05:11 pm (UTC)
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HiHi!

I was just wishing this morning that I could remember your LJ handle (what was that you were saying about con brain?)

Thanks again for inviting us out to dinenr Sunday. I'm glad we're hooked up in the e-world now and I hope to stay in touch.
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