Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Sotomayor nomination: Reaction to and resources for Obama's Supreme Court pick

This morning President Barack Obama announced he has chosen someone to succeed Justice David Souter on the Supreme Court: Sonia Sotomayor.

In remarks at the White House, the President said he had sought a nominee with "rigorous intellect" and "recognition of the limits of the judicial role" - two important qualities that Sotomayor certainly has.
Over a distinguished career that spans three decades, Judge Sotomayor has worked at almost every level of our judicial system, providing her with a depth of experience and a breadth of perspective that will be invaluable as a Supreme Court justice.

It's a measure of her qualities and her qualifications that Judge Sotomayor was nominated to the U.S. District Court by a Republican President, George H.W. Bush, and promoted to the Federal Court of Appeals by a Democrat, Bill Clinton. Walking in the door she would bring more experience on the bench, and more varied experience on the bench, than anyone currently serving on the United States Supreme Court had when they were appointed.
Responding to her nomination, Judge Sotomayor said (in part):
Thank you, Mr. President, for the most humbling honor of my life. You have nominated me to serve on the country's highest court, and I am deeply moved.

I could not, in the few minutes I have today, mention the names of the many friends and family who have guided and supported me throughout my life and who have been instrumental in helping me realize my dreams. I see many of those faces in this room. Each of you, whom I love deeply, will know that my heart today is bursting with gratitude for all you have done for me.
Activists, observers, and pundits have been mentioning Sotomayor as possible successor to Souter ever since the Associate Justice announced his retirement. Indeed, one of the very first emails I read after I heard the news of Souter's retirement suggested that Sotomayor would be his replacement.

If confirmed, she would be the first Hispanic justice in history, and only the third woman to serve on the Supreme Court (after Sandra Day O'Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, nominated by Presidents Reagan and Clinton, respectively).

Washington's senior Senator, Patty Murray, released the following statement in response to the nomination:
Judge Sonia Sotomayor is an unquestionably qualified Supreme Court choice and an unparalleled example of the true spirit and determination of the American dream. With her nomination, President Obama has responded to America’s need for a Court that is rich in service and experience and one that better reflects the people whose Constitution it is charged with upholding.

Judge Sotomayor has been nominated to judicial positions by Presidents of both political parties because of her record of fairness, moderation and independence. And she has proven that she can apply sophisticated legal doctrines to common sense, every-day application of the law.

The American people deserve a Supreme Court whose members understand that equal justice under the law means something powerful to every American, regardless of background or political persuasion.

I will evaluate Judge Sotomayor’s nomination based on the same standards I use for all judicial appointments. Is she ethical, honest and qualified? Will she be evenhanded, fair, and independent; and will she uphold our rights and liberties? I want to know that when an individual comes before the Court, that he or she will receive a fair hearing and that justice will be rendered according to the law.

I look forward to a swift, reasoned and respectful discussion of her qualifications, experience, and expertise.
We recommend the following links for more resources and reaction to Judge Sotomayor's nomination. It's been a pretty busy morning:
One more tidbit: Here are the names of the seven (still serving) Republican senators who voted to confirm Sotomayor back in 1997.
Thad Cochran (Missisippi), Susan Collins (Maine), Richard Lugar (Indiana), Olympia Snowe (Maine), Orrin Hatch (Utah), Jesse Helms (North Carolina), Judd Gregg (New Hampshire)
Arlen Specter also voted for Sotomayor in 1997. He released a very tepid statement in response to her nomination today, once again demonstrating that Pennsylvania needs better representation in the U.S. Senate.

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