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Myths and falsehoods surrounding the Sotomayor nomination

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posted on May, 28 2009 @ 02:24 PM
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Myths and falsehoods surrounding the Sotomayor nomination


mediamatters.org

SUMMARY: The media have advanced numerous myths and falsehoods about Sonia Sotomayor. In addition to evaluating these claims on their merits, the media should also consistently report that conservatives were reportedly very clear about their intentions to oppose President Obama's nominee for political purposes, no matter who it was.

In covering the announcement by President Obama that he intends to nominate Judge Sonia Sotomayor to replace retiring Justice David Souter on the Supreme Court, the media have advanced numerous myths and falsehoods about Sotomayor. In some cases, the media assert the falsehoods themselves; in others, they report unchallenged the claims of others.
(visit the link for the full news article)


Related News Links:
politifact.org

[edit on 28-5-2009 by grover]




posted on May, 28 2009 @ 02:24 PM
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Naming a person to the Supreme Court of the United States is among the most important and long lasting things that a president will do. It is important that we are fully informed as to the choices and characters of the persons chosen. Sadly everything that President Obama does stirs up controversy, real and made up, from the right so here is a primer on the myths and truth's surrounding Sonia Sotomayor's nomination.

AND since there are those who will question my source there is a link to an additional article from politicfact.

mediamatters.org
(visit the link for the full news article)



posted on May, 28 2009 @ 02:26 PM
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MYTH: Sotomayor advocated legislating from the bench


during a February 25, 2005, Duke University School of Law forum -- that the "court of appeals is where policy is made." These media outlets have advanced assertions that Sotomayor was advocating that judges make policy from the bench, or in the case of NBC's Matt Lauer and Chuck Todd, falsely characterized Sotomayor's comment themselves. But the context of her comments makes clear that she was simply explaining the difference between district courts and appeals courts after being asked about the differences between clerkships at the two levels, an explanation in line with federal appellate courts' "policy making" role described by the Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States (2005).


MYTH: Sotomayor said, "Latina judges are obviously better than white male judges"


Media figures have misrepresented a remark that Sotomayor made in a speech published in 2002, claiming that she suggested, in the words of Fox News' Megyn Kelly, "that Latina judges are obviously better than white male judges." Further advancing the falsehood, numerous media figures have asserted that Sotomayor made a "racist statement." In fact, when Sotomayor asserted, "I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life," she was specifically discussing the importance of judicial diversity in determining race and sex discrimination cases. Indeed, as Media Matters has noted, former Bush Justice Department lawyer John Yoo has similarly stressed that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas "is a black man with a much greater range of personal experience than most of the upper-class liberals who take potshots at him" and argued that Thomas' work on the court has been influenced by his understanding of the less fortunate acquired through personal experience.


MYTH: Sotomayor's Supreme Court reversal rate is "high"


In fact, contrary to the claim that a reversal rate of 60 percent is "high," data compiled by SCOTUSblog since 2004 show that the Supreme Court has reversed more than 60 percent of the federal appeals court cases it considered each year.


MYTH: Liberal judges like Sotomayor are "activist[s]"


CNN's Gloria Borger and Bill Schneider have uncritically repeated Republican claims that Sotomayor is -- in Schneider's words -- a "liberal activist," and in doing so have also advanced the baseless conservative claim that judicial activism is solely a "liberal" practice. But at least two studies -- looking at two different sets of criteria -- have found that the most "conservative" Supreme Court justices have been among the biggest judicial activists.

A 2005 study by Yale University law professor Paul Gewirtz and Yale Law School graduate Chad Golder indicated that among Supreme Court justices at that time, those most frequently labeled "conservative" were among the most frequent practitioners of at least one brand of judicial activism -- the tendency to strike down statutes passed by Congress. Indeed, Gewirtz and Golder found that Thomas "was the most inclined" to do so, "voting to invalidate 65.63 percent of those laws." Additionally, a recently published study by Cass R. Sunstein (recently named by Obama to head the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs) and University of Chicago law professor Thomas Miles used a different measurement of judicial activism -- the tendency of judges to strike down decisions by federal regulatory agencies. Sunstein and Miles found that by this definition, the Supreme Court's "conservative" justices were the most likely to engage in "judicial activism," while the "liberal" justices were most likely to exercise "judicial restraint."




[edit on 28-5-2009 by grover]



posted on May, 28 2009 @ 02:27 PM
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MYTH: Sotomayor was "[s]oft on New Jersey [c]orruption"


In a May 26 post to his National Review Online "the campaign spot" blog, Jim Geraghty misleadingly suggested that as a U.S. district judge, Sotomayor was "[s]oft on New Jersey [c]orruption" due to the sentencing and financial penalty she issued in 1995 to Joseph C. Salema in a municipal bond kickback scheme. Geraghty cited the book The Soprano State: New Jersey's Culture of Corruption, by Bob Ingle and Sandy McClure, who wrote that "Salema could have spent up to 10 years behind bars" and that Sotomayor "instead sentenced him to six months in a halfway house and six months of home detention, fined him $10,000 and gave him 1400 hours of community service." Geraghty commented: "A $10,000 fine to someone who pleads guilty to a federal charge of sharing in more than $200,000 in kickbacks. Boy, that will teach him!" But in declaring Sotomayor "[s]oft," Geraghty ignored the fact that prosecutors reportedly sought a prison term of only one year and that Salema reportedly paid "a full restitution of $342,000" in a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).


MYTH: New Haven firefighters case shows Sotomayor is an "activist"


In fact, Sotomayor agreed with four of her 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals colleagues that precedent compelled the decision in the case. Moreover, contrary to Long's suggestion that Sotomayor's decision shows that she is "far more of a liberal activist than even the current liberal activist Supreme Court," Souter -- whom Sotomayor would replace -- reflected an understanding of the situation faced by the city of New Haven, asking counsel for the firefighters: "Why isn't the most reasonable reading of this set of facts a reading which is consistent with giving the city an opportunity, assuming good faith, to start again? ... [I]sn't that the only way to avoid the damned if you do, damned if you don't situation?"


MYTH: Sotomayor lacks the intellect to be an effective justice


As Tom Goldstein noted on SCOTUSblog, "Opponents' first claim -- likely stated obliquely and only on background -- will be that Judge Sotomayor is not smart enough for the job" because "[t]he public expects Supreme Court Justices to be brilliant." Goldstein added: "The objective evidence is that Sotomayor is in fact extremely intelligent. Graduating at the top of the class at Princeton is a signal accomplishment. Her opinions are thorough, well-reasoned, and clearly written. Nothing suggests she isn't the match of the other Justices." Goldstein is a partner at Akin Gump Straus Hauer & Feldmann LLP and "co-head" of the firm's "litigation and Supreme Court practices" who "teaches Supreme Court Litigation at both Stanford and Harvard Law Schools."


[edit on 28-5-2009 by grover]



posted on May, 28 2009 @ 02:27 PM
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MYTH: Sotomayor is "domineering" and "a bit of a bully"


Echoing a May 4 New Republic article by legal affairs editor Jeffrey Rosen, Fox News host Bill Hemmer and Supreme Court reporter Shannon Bream relied on anonymous sources that reportedly characterized Sotomayor as "domineering," sometimes "bogged down in marginal details," and "a bit of a bully." A CNN.com article similarly referenced "perceived ... concerns about her temperament." However, several of Rosen's sources were unnamed "former law clerks for other judges on the Second Circuit." Beyond allowing sources who are not identified to throw darts at Sotomayor, such citations of law clerks is problematic for a different reason, according to American University law professor Darren Hutchinson, who wrote, "[T]he use of clerks to determine whether a judge should receive a Supreme Court nomination is extremely problematic," because "[m]ost clerks have just graduated from law school, have never tried a case or practiced law, and do not have sufficient experience or knowledge of the law to make an informed assessment of a judge."


MYTH: "Empathy" is code for "liberal activist"


Media figures and outlets have focused on the purported controversy over Obama's May 1 statement that he would seek a replacement for Souter who demonstrates the quality of "empathy" and conservatives' criticism that Sotomayor, in the words of Long, "applies her feelings ... when deciding cases." Several media figures and outlets, including Fox News' Special Report and The Washington Post, have falsely suggested that Obama said that he will seek a Supreme Court nominee who demonstrates empathy rather than a commitment to follow the law....

....But these media figures and outlets have ignored conservatives' history of stressing the importance of judges' possessing empathy or compassion....

Indeed, during his Supreme Court confirmation hearings, responding to Sen. Herb Kohl's (D-WI) question, "I'd like to ask you why you want this job?" Thomas stated in part: "I believe, Senator, that I can make a contribution, that I can bring something different to the Court, that I can walk in the shoes of the people who are affected by what the Court does." Moreover, then-President George H.W. Bush cited Thomas' "great empathy" in his remarks announcing that he was nominating Thomas to serve on the Supreme Court.


[edit on 28-5-2009 by grover]



posted on May, 28 2009 @ 02:37 PM
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Good Post Grover. I'm personally not a Sotomayor fan, but your arguement is well laid out, and should give the Repubs something to mull over.

-E-



posted on May, 28 2009 @ 02:39 PM
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reply to post by MysterE
 

Nah it won't.

She's been nominated by Obama. The knee jerk response is well underway... no further thought will occur from that quarter.

Sadly.



posted on May, 28 2009 @ 02:55 PM
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Originally posted by grover
The knee jerk response is well underway... no further thought will occur from that quarter.

grover ... grover .... grover.

The responses aren't 'knee jerk' at all.
We are very capable of 'thinking' ... and we have.

Want me to say that you are defending her - without thinking - simply because Obama nominated her? I could say that, and it would mean as much as your statement just did.

Discussion on Sotomayors pathetic statements

No one is misrepresenting her racist statements.
She made them.
They are very clear.



posted on May, 28 2009 @ 03:10 PM
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reply to post by FlyersFan
 


Did you read the snippet on her so-called racist statements?

Racism is a belittling, demeaning and degrading a person of another race...

Think about it... a rich white male lawyer will have had one set of experiences to get where he is... a person be that a woman, a black a Latino in the face of not only actual racism but the glass ceiling that so often faces women will have another set of experiences....

Odds are that rich white male had a far easier time of it... maybe not though but still what she said was:


numerous media figures have asserted that Sotomayor made a "racist statement." In fact, when Sotomayor asserted, "I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life," she was specifically discussing the importance of judicial diversity in determining race and sex discrimination cases. Indeed, as Media Matters has noted, former Bush Justice Department lawyer John Yoo has similarly stressed that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas "is a black man with a much greater range of personal experience than most of the upper-class liberals who take potshots at him" and argued that Thomas' work on the court has been influenced by his understanding of the less fortunate acquired through personal experience.


Note that she said

I would hope...
that is totally different than saying that they would or does... catch my drift?

If the difference of personal experience argument works for Clarence Thomas then logically the same applies for her.

[edit on 28-5-2009 by grover]



posted on May, 28 2009 @ 03:15 PM
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Originally posted by grover
Racism is a belittling, demeaning and degrading a person of another race

That's bigotry. And basically she did.

All white men aren't rich and didn't come from rich backgrounds.

Even if a judge is a white man from a rich background ... so what?
That doesn't change his abilities.

Being Latina doesn't maker her better or smarter then white males.

Just because she was poor and raised herself up doesn't mean she's a better judge. (she's to be applauded for what she did .. but it doesn't maker her a better judge).

The ONLY thing she should be doing is upholding the law .. not using empathy or world experience to interpret that law.

How would she like it if conservative white males started using their life experiences or their feelings to interpret law instead of just upholding it? I'm sure she wouldn't be happy.

Sorry grover .. but I think you are wrong on this. She said what she said.
It's very clear. Her remarks were sexist and bigotted.



posted on May, 28 2009 @ 03:17 PM
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Originally posted by grover
If the difference of personal experience argument works for Clarence Thomas then logically the same applies for her.


Separate issue. And one I can't speak to. At this time I know nothing about Clarence Thomas .. why he was picked .. what kind of job he's doing.

I'd have to go read up on him to know if I agree with his appointment or not.



posted on May, 28 2009 @ 03:19 PM
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Why would it be different?

You haven't read any of the snippets I provided have you?

I hate to say it but you are proving my point that:



The knee jerk response is well underway... no further thought will occur from that quarter.


Clarence Thomas was appointed by Bush Senior because he was a black man to replace the first black man to serve on the Supreme Court, Thurgood Marshall...

And it was widely considered that was why Bush Senior appointed him in the second place... I say second place because his first choice, Robert Bork was too far to right wing for the Senate to stomach.

He opinions were so polarizing that a lot of Republicans voted against him.

[edit on 28-5-2009 by grover]



posted on May, 28 2009 @ 05:19 PM
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Originally posted by grover
Why would it be different?

I'm saying it's a different issue FOR ME because I can't speak to it.

I don't know enough about him to be able to comment on his appointment.

Didn't you see where I said that?

I have no idea why he was appointed or if it was a good thing or not.

And no, grover, my saying that I don't know enough about Thomas is NOT even remotely close to being some kind of thoughtless knee-jerk reaction about Sotomayor.

Anyways .. the subject is Sotomayors racist and sexist statements. The subject is Sotomayor making rulings by 'feeling and empathy' and not by the blind justice of the Constitution.



posted on May, 28 2009 @ 06:03 PM
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I would hope that a white man with the richness of his experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a latino woman who hasn't lived that life.

Can you imagine if a white man nominated for the Supreme Court would have said something like that? His nomination would have been pulled within days.

Unlike Sotomayor, Clarence Thomas was not comparing his personnal experiences to other potential Supreme Court picks. Sotomayor basically said she could make better conclusions than a white man, while Thomas was questioning his detractors. BIG difference.

Also what do qualifications have to do with anything anyway? Barack Obama voted AGAINST Alito and Roberts AFTER claiming they were well qualified. How can Obama expect his pick to receive better treatment that he personally gave Bush's?



posted on May, 29 2009 @ 07:38 AM
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Again you are just parroting the talking points as opposed to reading what was actually said in the context of the full statement and coming to a well reasoned conclusion on your own...

but why doesn't that surprise me RR?



posted on May, 29 2009 @ 07:56 AM
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reply to post by grover
 


Why would I pay any attention to a George Soros funded website?

How about I just pull an Obama and state that Sotomayor is fully qualified...but I am against her anyway?

That is what Obama did to Alito and Roberts.

I think this is a ploy Obama....nominate the worst pick, and if it goes through....GREAT! But I'm sure he has a backup just in case. Someone still liberal but not as offensive. That pick would sail through because they would be compared to Sotomayor.



[edit on 29-5-2009 by RRconservative]



posted on May, 29 2009 @ 12:48 PM
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Despite hystronics from the right I see nothing offensive about her... you guys would find something to grouse about if he nominated Christ Jesus to the court simply because it was Obama doing the nominating.

[edit on 29-5-2009 by grover]



posted on May, 29 2009 @ 05:51 PM
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GROVER!

One simple question....

Obama said Alito and Roberts were qualified, but still voted against them.

Why can't that be justification enough for Repubicans to do the same?



posted on May, 30 2009 @ 05:32 AM
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I didn't say not vote against her... if they feel that would be the best thing to do then by all means follow their conscious.

I am, and the point of this thread, is to provide information about the myths and smears being circulated about her.

If you don't like her rulings or politics fine but do so by being informed from information from both the left and the right... not just blindly follow the talking points.



posted on May, 30 2009 @ 09:37 AM
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A quote is not a myth, falsehood or a talking point.

"I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life,"

She should be disqualified for this racist statement alone.

If a white male had made this statement in reverse the nomination would have been rescinded as soon as it was discovered.

Words mean things!



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