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Sotomayor: The Second 24 Hours

Sonia_Sotomayor_6_sitting,_2009 My partner-in-blog Carolyn Elefant did a great job yesterday rounding up the first 24 hours' reaction among bloggers and pundits to President Obama's nomination of 2nd Circuit Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. Needless to say, the tsunami of commentary continues -- from bloggers, tweeters, columnists and YouTubers -- in what The Boston Globe today describes as a cyberspace blitzkrieg. So let us check in on what the second 24 hours has brought.

No clear pattern on First Amendment. The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and the First Amendment Center say Sotomayor has attracted both praise and criticism for her rulings involving free speech and the news media. "It is surprising to see that no clear standard on First Amendment issues has emerged from her many cases," the RCFP says.

No set bias on business cases. Just as Sotomayor's rulings on First Amendment cases have varied, so her rulings in business cases have failed to define her as either pro- or anti-business, John Schwartz writes in The New York Times. "It’s impossible to look at these decisions and say, oh, all of these results clearly reflect a pre-existing, across the board bias one way or another," Supreme Court litigator Andrew J. Pincus tells Schwartz.

The nominee as legal realist. Jess Bravin writes in the Wall Street Journal that Sotomayor's 1996 talk at Suffolk University Law School in Boston may provide clues to her judicial philosophy. Citing the teachings of Judge Jerome Frank, who promoted legal realism, Sotomayor said, "The law that lawyers practice and judges declare is not a definitive, capital 'L' law that many would like to think exists."

A closet sovereigntist? At Opinio Juris, Julian Ku looks at Sotomayor's opinions involving the application of international law. "My very quick scan suggests that, whatever else her critics can say, her judicial record does not suggest she will be a particularly 'transnationalist' justice," Ku concludes.

A take-no-guff temperament. McClatchy Newspapers says Sotomayor's style could well alter the dynamics of the Supreme Court. "White House officials consider Sotomayor's take-no-guff temperament a sign that she can hold her own among the Supreme Court's aggressively conservative justices, starting with Antonin Scalia," the article reports.

Hints of her abortion stance. Charlie Savage writes in The New York Times that some abortion rights advocates fear that Sotomayor might not be a sure bet to uphold Roe v. Wade. She has never directly ruled on the issue, but some opinions that touched on it tangentially reached outcomes that were favorable to abortion opponents, Savage reports.

And so it continues and will continue still. Stay tuned for further developments.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on May 28, 2009 at 02:23 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)

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