Less than 48 hours after his announcement of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to fill the vacancy of retiring Justice David Souter, it appears that her opponents have little to truly bicker about. Absent some unforeseen event, she will become the first Latina Supreme Court Justice in our nation’s history. President Obama’s selection will prove to be more than just a barrier breaking moment in history, it will demonstrate a victory for justice in America.
What’s more important, however, is that Judge Sotomayor has demonstrated time and again that she knows American values of hard work, fair play, free speech, and yes, even, love of baseball. Consider these stances taken by Sotomayor.
1. Judge Sotomayor would bring more federal judicial experience to the bench than any Supreme Court justice in 100 years. Over her three-decade career, she has served in a wide variety of legal roles, including as a prosecutor, litigator, and judge.
2. Judge Sotomayor is a trailblazer. She was the first Latina to serve on the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and was the youngest member of the court when appointed to the District Court for the Southern District of New York. If confirmed, she will be the first Hispanic to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court.
3. While on the bench, Judge Sotomayor has consistently protected the rights of working Americans, ruling in favor of health benefits and fair wages for workers in several cases.
4. Judge Sotomayor has shown strong support for First Amendment rights, including in cases of religious expression and the rights to assembly and free speech.
5. Judge Sotomayor has a strong record on civil rights cases, ruling for plaintiffs who had been discriminated against based on disability, sex and race.
6. Judge Sotomayor embodies the American dream. Born to Puerto Rican parents, she grew up in a South Bronx housing project and was raised from age nine by a single mother, excelling in school and working her way to graduate summa cum laude from Princeton University and to become an editor of the Law Journal at Yale Law School.
7. In 1995, Judge Sotomayor "saved baseball" when she stopped the owners from illegally changing their bargaining agreement with the players, thereby ending the longest professional sports walk-out in history.
8. Judge Sotomayor ruled in favor of the environment in a case of protecting aquatic life in the vicinity of power plants in 2007, a decision that was overturned by the Roberts Supreme Court.
9. In 1992, Judge Sotomayor was confirmed by the Senate without opposition after being appointed to the bench by George H.W. Bush.
10. Judge Sotomayor is a widely respected legal figure, having been described as "…an outstanding colleague with a keen legal mind," "highly qualified for any position in which wisdom, intelligence, collegiality and good character would be assets," and "a role model of aspiration, discipline, commitment, intellectual prowess and integrity."
Sources for each of the 10 things:
1. White House Statement, May 26, 2009.
2. White House Statement, May 26, 2009.
3. Cases: Archie v. Grand Cent. Partnership, 997 F. Supp. 504 (S.D.N.Y. 1998) and Marcella v. Capital Dist. Physicians’ Health Plan, Inc., 293 F.3d 42 (2d Cir. 2002).
4. Cases: Flamer v. White Plains, 841 F. Supp. 1365 (S.D.N.Y. 1993), Ford v. McGinnis, 352 F.3d 382 (2d Cir. 2003), and Campos v. Coughlin, 854 F. Supp. 194 (S.D.N.Y. 1994).
5a. "Sotomayor’s Notable Court Opinions and Articles," The New York Times, May 26, 2009.
5b. Cases: Bartlett v. N.Y. State Board, 970 F. Supp. 1094 (S.D.N.Y. 1997), Greenbaum v. Svenska Hendelsbanken, 67 F.Supp.2d 228 (S.D.N.Y. 1999), Raniola v. Bratton, 243 F.3d 610 (2d Cir. 2001), and Gant v. Wallingford Board of Education, 195 F.3d 134 (2d Cir. 1999).
6. "Sonia Sotomayor: 10 Things You Should Know," The Huffington Post, May 26, 2009.
7. "How Sotomayor ‘Saved’ Baseball," Time, May 26, 2009.
8. "Sotomayor’s resume, record on notable cases," CNN, May 26, 2009.
9. "Sotomayor’s resume, record on notable cases," CNN, May 26, 2009.
10a. Judge Richard C. Wesley, a George W. Bush appointee to the Second Circuit.
10b. "Sotomayor is Highly Qualified," The Wall Street Journal, May 9, 2009.
10c. Honorary Degree Citation, Pace University School of Law, 2003 Commencement.
recently named in the 2009 edition of Best Lawyer's In America, David Mittleman has been representing seriously injured people since 1985. A partner with Church Wyble PC—a division of Grewal Law PLLC—Mr. Mittleman and his partners focus on medical malpractice, wrongful death, car accidents, slip and falls, nursing home injury, pharmacy/pharmacist negligence and disability claims.