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The Abortion Fear: Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor

So what's the ruckus about the newest Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor? She seems to be a big issue? Being tagged as the first ever Hispanic Supreme Court Judge, Sotomayor faces the tough questioning of Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Jeff Sessions as she faces the committee for her nomination. But before that there are lots of praises for her saying that she will indeed be a judge for all Americans. But what was the issue? Well, many fear that Sotomayor will be one who would eventually support less stiffer abortion laws which will lead to more legal abortions. Some says she is very liberal on such an issue but this is yet to be seen about her.

Another worry is that most lawyers wh had encountered her characterized the lady Judge as temperamental and confrontational. She is used to hard questioning of lawyers and often times those that are unprepared will surely be wary and feel ashamed.

On the other hand, Sotomayor's law clerks regard her as a valuable and strong mentor, and she has said that she views them as like family. She lives modestly and has few financial assets; regarding her short financial disclosure reports, she said, "When you don't have money, it's easy. There isn't anything there to report."

Will the Republican's triumph? The Judiciary Commitee itself is dominated by Democrats, 12-7. Added to this is the fact that Democrats hold a solid 60-seat Senate which is enough to overcome any Republican filibuster.

Here are some of her notable rulings of Judge Sonia Sotomayor as published in Wikipedia Encyclpedia:

First Amendment rights

In Pappas v. Giuliani (2002), Sotomayor dissented from her colleagues’ ruling that the New York Police Department could terminate an employee from his desk job who sent racist materials through the mail. Sotomayor argued that the First Amendment protected speech by the employee “away from the office, on [his] own time,” even if that speech was "offensive, hateful, and insulting," and that therefore the employee's First Amendment claim should have gone to trial rather than being dismissed on summary judgment.

In 2005, Judge Sotomayor wrote the opinion for United States v. Quattrone.[125] Frank Quattrone had been on trial on charges of obstructing investigations related to technology IPOs. Some members of the media had wanted to publish the names of the jurors deciding Quattrone's case and a district court had issued an order to forbid the publication of the juror's names. In United States v. Quattrone, Judge Sotomayor wrote the opinion for the Second Circuit panel striking down this order on First Amendment grounds, stating that the media should be free to publish the names of the jurors. The first trial ended in a deadlocked jury and a mistrial, and the district court ordered the media not to publish the names of jurors, even though those names had been disclosed in open court. Judge Sotomayor held that although it was important to protect the fairness of the retrial, the district court's order was an unconstitutional prior restraint on free speech and violated the right of the press to "to report freely on events that transpire in an open courtroom."

In 2008, Sotomayor was on a three-judge panel in Doninger v. Niehoff[126] that unanimously affirmed, in an opinion written by Second Circuit Judge Debra Livingston, the district court's judgment that Lewis S. Mills High School did not violate the First Amendment rights of a student when it barred her from running for student government after she called the superintendent and other school officials "douchebags" in a blog post written while off-campus that encouraged students to call an administrator and "piss her off more". Judge Livingston held that the district judge did not abuse her discretion in holding that the student's speech "foreseeably create[d] a risk of substantial disruption within the school environment", which is the precedent in the Second Circuit for when schools may regulate off-campus speech. Although Sotomayor did not write this opinion, she has been criticized by some who disagree with it.

Second Amendment rights

Sotomayor was part of the three-judge Second Circuit panel that affirmed the district court's ruling in Maloney v. Cuomo (2009). Maloney was arrested for possession of nunchaku, which are illegal in New York; Maloney argued that this law violated his Second Amendment right to bear arms. The Second Circuit's per curiam opinion noted that the Supreme Court has not, so far, ever held that the Second Amendment is binding against state governments. On the contrary, in Presser v. Illinois, a Supreme Court case from 1886, the Supreme Court held that the Second Amendment "is a limitation only upon the power of Congress and the national government, and not upon that of the state." With respect to the Presser v. Illinois precedent, the panel stated that only the Supreme Court has "the prerogative of overruling its own decisions," and the recent Supreme Court case of District of Columbia v. Heller (which struck down the district's gun ban as unconstitutional) did "not invalidate this longstanding principle." The panel upheld the lower court's decision dismissing Maloney's challenge to New York's law against possession of nunchaku. On June 2, 2009, a Seventh Circuit panel, including prominent conservative judges Richard Posner and Frank Easterbrook, unanimously agreed with Maloney v. Cuomo, citing the case in their decision turning back a challenge to Chicago's gun laws and noting the Supreme Court precedents remain in force until altered by the Supreme Court itself.

Fourth Amendment rights

In N.G. & S.G. ex rel. S.C. v. Connecticut (2004), Sotomayor dissented from her colleagues’ decision to uphold a series of strip searches of “troubled adolescent girls” in juvenile detention centers. While Sotomayor agreed that some of the strip searches at issue in the case were lawful, she would have held that due to the “the severely intrusive nature of strip searches,” they should not be allowed “in the absence of individualized suspicion, of adolescents who have never been charged with a crime.” She argued that an "individualized suspicion" rule was more consistent with Second Circuit precedent than the majority's rule.

In Leventhal v. Knapek (2001), Sotomayor rejected a Fourth Amendment challenge by a U.S. Department of Transportation employee whose employer searched his office computer. She held that, “Even though [the employee] had some expectation of privacy in the contents of his office computer, the investigatory searches by the DOT did not violate his Fourth Amendment rights”[135] because here “there were reasonable grounds to believe” that the search would reveal evidence of “work-related misconduct.”

Alcohol in commerce

In 2004, Sotomayor was part of the judge panel that ruled in Granholm v. Heald that New York's law prohibiting out-of-state wineries from shipping directly to consumers in New York was constitutional even though in-state wineries were allowed to. The case, which invoked the 21st Amendment, was appealed and attached to another case. The case reached the Supreme Court later on as Swedenburg v. Kelly and was overruled in a 5-4 decision that found the law was discriminatory and unconstitutional.[

Employment discrimination

Sotomayor was a member of a 2008 Second Circuit panel in the high-profile case Ricci v. DeStefano that upheld the right of the City of New Haven to throw out its test for firefighters and start over with a new test, because the City believed the test had a "disparate impact" on minority firefighters. (No black firefighters qualified for promotion under the test, whereas some had qualified under tests used in previous years.) The City was concerned that minority firefighters might sue under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The City chose not to certify the test results and a lower court had previously upheld the City's right to do this. Several white firefighters and one Hispanic firefighter who had passed the test, including the lead plaintiff who has dyslexia and had put much extra effort into studying, sued the City of New Haven, claiming that their rights were violated. The case reached the Supreme Court and was overruled in a 5-4 decision that found the white firefighters had been victims of racial discrimination when they were denied promotion.


In Clarett v. National Football League (2004),[140] Sotomayor upheld the National Football League's eligibility rules requiring players to wait three full seasons after high school graduation before entering the NFL draft. Maurice Clarett challenged these rules, which were part of the collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and its players, on antitrust grounds. Sotomayor held that Clarett's claim would upset the established "federal labor law favoring and governing the collective bargaining process."

In Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Inc. v. Dabit (2005),[142] Sotomayor wrote a unamimous opinion that the Securities Litigation Uniform Standards Act of 1998 did not preempt class action claims in state courts by stockbrokers alleging ­misleading inducement to buy or sell stocks.[96] The Supreme Court handed down an 8-0 decision stating that the Act did preempt such claims, thereby overruling Sotomayor's decision.

Civil rights

In Correctional Services Corp. v. Malesko (2000), Sotomayor, writing for the court, supported the right of an individual to sue a private corporation working on behalf of the federal government for alleged violations of that individual's constitutional rights. Reversing a lower court decision, Sotomayor found that an existing Supreme Court doctrine, known as "Bivens" — which allows suits against individuals working for the federal government for constitutional rights violations — could be applied to the case of a former prisoner seeking to sue the private company operating the federal halfway house facility in which he resided. The Supreme Court reversed Sotomayor's ruling in a 5-4 decision, saying that the Bivens doctrine could not be expanded to cover private entities working on behalf of the federal government. Justices Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg, and Breyer dissented, siding with Sotomayor's original ruling.

In Gant v. Wallingford Board of Education, 195 F.3d 134 (1999), the parents of a black student alleged that he had been harassed due to his race, and had been discriminated against when he was transferred from a first grade class to a kindergarten class without parental consent, while similarly situated white students were treated differently. Sotomayor agreed with the dismissal of the harassment claims due to lack of evidence, but would have allowed the discrimination claim to go forward. She wrote in dissent that the grade transfer was "contrary to the school's established policies" as well as its treatment of white students, which "supports the inference that race discrimination played a role".

Property rights

In Krimstock v. Kelly (2002), Sotomayor wrote an opinion halting New York City's practice of seizing the motor vehicles of drivers accused of driving while intoxicated and some other crimes and holding those vehicles for "months or even years" during criminal proceedings. Noting the importance of cars to many individuals' livelihoods or daily activities, she held that it violated individuals' due process rights to hold the vehicles without permitting the owners to challenge the City's continued possession of their property.

In Brody v. Village of Port Chester (2003), a takings case, Sotomayor wrote an opinion remanding the case to the district court for further proceedings[clarification needed] on whether Brody had adequate notice of the Village's condemnation proceedings against his property. (A related proceeding in the lower court was called Didden v. Village of Port Chester. The case has drawn criticism from libertarian commentators.)

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