Friday, July 10, 2009

Sotomayor nomination, ACLU report on her civil liberties record and other SCOTUS resources

With the hearings of Chief Justice Nominee Sonia Sotomayor quickly approaching, we wanted to share some resources and information on this historic candidate.

She was nominated by President Barack Obama on May 26, 2009 to replace Justice David Souter, and if elected, would be the first Hispanic justice to serve the Supreme Court. Hearings begin on Monday, July 13. For articles, speeches and information on Sotomayor we’ve compiled a list of links found below. The ACLU does not endorse or oppose candidates for elective or appointive office, but we encourage everyone to learn more about how the nominee, if confirmed, would impact the highest level of the judicial branch of government.

Where to find the facts on Sotomayor's record and history:
The national ACLU office issued a lengthy report on the civil liberties and rights record for Sotomayor, including the dozen or so cases in which ACLU participated. Generally the report says that Sotomayor's history shows a thorough and deep exploration of case law, but not a lot of philosophical musings on hot-button issues. The release of the report was also announced on the ACLU's Blog of Rights which has an interesting discussion in the comments section.

Sotomayor’s questionnaire compiled by the Senate Judiciary Committee is available for the public. This link has all of the source documents of her background and offers a comprehensive list of her education, experience, and decisions on past court cases as well as the text of speeches and interviews of her experience as a female judge.

The New York Times Topics page on Sotomayor offers current news regarding the nomination as well as an overview on her nomination, opinion articles and links to past speeches she has given.

Where to get interesting opinions on Sotomayor's nomination:
SCOTUS bloggers discuss Sotomayor. The blog links to resources on news, endorsements and non-partisan reports on her record.

DemocracyNow! offered a roundtable discussion of Sotomayor’s nomination with Marjorie Cohn of the National Lawyers Guild; attorney and SCOTUS Blog founder Tom Goldstein; Cesar Perales, general counsel of Latino Justice; and Juan Manuel Garcia-Passalacqua, an independent political analyst who knows Sotomayor personally. The discussion includes reactions to having a Puerto Rican American nominee, trends in her decisions and reactions to critical debates about the nomination in the media.

And this short opinion piece from the New Yorker looks at Sotomayor’s nomination within a broader historical context of overall election trends within the Supreme Court. It discusses how diversity on the court used to be about geographic interests but has evolved into representing the demographic changes of the country's citizens.

There are lots of other sources of debate in the media about the Sotomayor nomination. The ACLU of Wisconsin encourages members and the public to tune into the hearings and watch our two state Senators' questions of the nominee.