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May 26, 2009

Sotomayor's Lazy, Vapid, and Authoritarian Jurisprudence

Forgive me if this was already linked by a coblogger. I want to call it out and highlight it. This will be the main attack on Sotomayor, both on her racist reasoning and her lack of intellect and thoroughness.

It's not merely where she comes down on a reverse-discrimination case -- it's the reasoning, or rather the complete lack of any reasoning, that leads to that conclusion.

She and Obama make much of her "empathy." With a record like this, it's no surprise that they're making the case on her feelings rather than, say, her "thorough and masterful understanding of the Constitution."

U.S. Appeals Court Judge Sonia Sotomayor, mentioned as a possible Supreme Court nominee, voted to deny a racial discrimination claim in a 2008 decision. She dismissed the case in a one-paragraph statement that, in the opinion of one dissenting judge, ignored the evidence and did not even address the constitutional issues raised by the case.

The case, Ricci v. DeStefano, involved a group of 19 white firefighters and one Hispanic firefighter who filed suit in 2003 claiming that the city of New Haven, Conn., engaged in racial discrimination when it threw out the results of two promotion tests because none of the city’s black applicants had passed the tests.

Each of the plaintiffs had passed the exam. The case is currently before the U.S. Supreme Court.


U.S. Appeals Court Judge Sotomayor issued an order that affirmed Arterton’s decision, issuing a one-paragraph judgment that called Arterton’s ruling “thorough, thoughtful, and well reasoned,”

But according to dissenting Judge Jose Cabranes, the single-paragraph order issued by Sotomayor and her colleagues ignored over 1,800 pages of testimony and more than an hour of argument--ignoring the facts of the case.

“(T)he parties submitted briefs of 86 pages each and a six-volume joint appendix of over 1,800 pages; plaintiffs’ reply brief was over thirty pages long," Cabranes wrote.

"(O)ral argument, on December 10, 2007, lasted over an hour,” Cabranes explained, adding that more than two months after oral arguments, Sotomayor and the majority panel upheld the lower court in a summary order “containing a single substantive paragraph.”

Cabranes criticized Sotomayor and the majority for not explaining why they had sided with the city in their new opinion.

“This per curiam opinion adopted in toto the reasoning of the District Court, without further elaboration or substantive comment, and thereby converted a lengthy, unpublished district court opinion, grappling with significant constitutional and statutory claims of first impression, into the law of this Circuit,” Cabranes wrote in his dissent.

Judge Cabranes also said that Sotomayor’s opinion failed to address the constitutional issues of the case, saying the majority had ignored the facts of the case as well.

“It did so, moreover, in an opinion that lacks a clear statement of either the claims raised by the plaintiffs or the issues on appeal. Indeed, the opinion contains no reference whatsoever to the constitutional claims at the core of this case,” the judge criticized.

“This Court has failed to grapple with the questions of exceptional importance raised in this appeal,” Judge Cabranes concluded. “If the Ricci plaintiffs are to receive such an opinion from a reviewing court they must now look to the Supreme Court. Their claims are worthy of that review.”

In fairness, she did cite the seminal case of I Know You Are v. But What Am I?

A serious case deserves more a more serious argument than "Because I Said So." She couldn't make the case -- the contortions, evasions, and deceptions of liberal heavy hitters like William Brennan were beyond her intellectual grasp -- so she just wrote "Shut up, that's why."

More at the link. This is the juiciest case, but there are more.

Intellectually Incurious? Bear in mind, President Bush was derided by the left for years for lacking, it was claimed, the inclination and ability to seriously think through difficult questions, preferring to simply announce outcomes as "The Decider."

And Sotomayor...?

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posted by Ace at 05:04 PM

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