Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Sotomayor II

There's been concern expressed that a Justice Sotomayor would be inclined to side with discrimination claimants. (I think the concern stems from the wise-Latina statement, but I may be missing something more about it.) I've seen the statistical analysis by Tom Goldstein writing at SCOTUS blog about Judge Sotomayor's votes in discrimination cases. He finds the following:
Of the 96 cases, Judge Sotomayor and the panel rejected the claim of discrimination roughly 78 times and agreed with the claim of discrimination 10 times; the remaining 8 involved other kinds of claims or dispositions. Of the 10 cases favoring claims of discrimination, 9 were unanimous. (Many, by the way, were procedural victories rather than judgments that discrimination had occurred.) Of those 9, in 7, the unanimous panel included at least one Republican-appointed judge. In the one divided panel opinion, the dissent’s point dealt only with the technical question of whether the criminal defendant in that case had forfeited his challenge to the jury selection in his case. So Judge Sotomayor rejected discrimination-related claims by a margin of roughly 8 to 1.


In sum, in an eleven-year career on the Second Circuit, Judge Sotomayor has participated in roughly 100 panel decisions involving questions of race and has disagreed with her colleagues in those cases (a fair measure of whether she is an outlier) a total of 4 times.

Goldstein's analysis is open to criticism: "Now, this doesn't tell us much. Each case should be examined individually, on the merits, because what really matters is not whether she rejected discrimination claims but whether she was right to reject them." Michael Stickings at The Reaction (H/T Legal Insurrection)

But, as Stickings concludes: "Still, Goldstein's findings do effectively refute the (discriminatory) claims of Sotomayor's critics on the right -- and there are many of them -- that she is racist, and that she allows her own identity as an Hispanic woman to shape her legal opinions."

She's smart. She's qualified. She doesn't remind me at all of Harriet Myers.

She's a baseball fan. (What? That's not relevant? Keeps coming up in the hearings, so I was thrown off.)

She'll be fine.


Stephanie said...

Oh for Pete's sake. Lindsay Graham demanding that she say what 9/11 means to her. Is "9/11" in the Constitution? I'm so confused. Someone's strict constructionism is slipping.

Stephanie said...

And is Graham suggesting that her FEELINGS about 9/11 ought to affect how she rules on terrorism/security cases? Because that would be using feelings and empathy to make decisions and that's inappropriate, right? Uff da.