Ginsburg Backs Sotomayor, Discusses End of Session
By Bob Barnes
The confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor is a bit of a foregone conclusion to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who this weekend endorsed Sotomayor as a judge "well-equipped to handle the challenges our work presents."
Speaking on Friday to the conference of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd District in New York, on which Sotomayor is a judge, Ginsburg said she was saddened by the retirement of her friend Justice David H. Souter but was "cheered by the next banner headline:" the one announcing Sotomayor as President Obama's choice for the court.
"The nominee will bring to the Supreme Court, as she did to the district court and then the court of appeals, a wealth of experience in law and in life," Ginsburg said in a speech that was broadcast the next day on C-SPAN. "And I am so glad no longer to be the lone woman on the court."
Ginsburg didn't give away any of the outcomes of the controversial cases left on the court's docket, but noted that the number of 5 to 4 decisions is up this term compared to last, and said there will be more before the court finishes its work in the next two weeks.
She called the court's yet to be released decision over the constitutionality of a key provision of the Voting Rights Act (Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District Number One v. Holder) "perhaps the most important case of the term."
The court is also reviewing a ruling by Sotomayor and two others from the 2nd Circuit that New Haven, Conn. officials were justified under federal law when they threw out a promotions test for firefighters on which no African-American employees scored high enough for advancement. The mostly white firefighters who were not promoted have charged discrimination in Ricci v. DeStefano, and the decision has emerged as one of the most controversial in Sotomayor's long career.
Ginsburg said "one can safely predict" that the high court's review of the case, which was one of the last argued, will also be one of the last to be announced.
Ginsburg told the assembled lawyers that she could not stay at their retreat at a resort on Lake George because today is the court's deadline for all majority opinions and dissents in remaining cases to be filed, so that the justices can circulate the work for comment.
But Ginsburg still found time to pen a valentine to Souter, which was published Sunday in the New Hampshire justice's hometown newspaper, The Concord Monitor. Ginsburg wrote that Souter's "talent as a raconteur brightened the noon hour" when the court dined together and that "his stories helped relieve tensions sparked by our sometimes strong disagreements on the proper disposition of cases on our docket."
Ginsburg said Souter, who sits to her right on the court's mahogony bench, also performed a valuable personal service. "On mornings after a very long night at my desk, I could rely on him for a gentle tap on my arm when I was in danger of giving way to sleep."
June 15, 2009; 2:52 PM ET
Categories: Current Justices , Docket , Supreme Court
Save & Share: Previous: National Women's Law Center Lends Its Advocacy to Sotomayor
Next: Liberal Group Praises Sotomayor's Criminal Justice Rulings
Posted by: mdenny1 | June 15, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: cyberfool | June 15, 2009 5:15 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: PalmSpringsGirl | June 15, 2009 5:56 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Tupac_Goldstein | June 15, 2009 7:53 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: WALDENSR | June 22, 2009 3:50 AM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.