A Good Judge

June 22, 2009 by  
Filed under Opinion

It has not taken long for Obama to have the opportunity to select a new Supreme Court Justice.

To be completely honest with you, I am not surprised that his selection is a female minority.

I am most surprised that his nominee as a record of not being a good judge.

The simple fact is you can only judge how good a Judge has been by a ratio of the number of cases judged versus the number of cases over ruled.

Using this standard, a judge would had to have a large percentage of their cases over ruled to be deemed not qualified.

I call your attention to the startling fact that Sotomayor has been over ruled 60% of the time. That is a very large number and there are only two possible reasons for such a number.

  1. Lack of knowledge of the prescribed law
  2. Legislating from the bench (most probable reason)

Congress makes laws and the Judicial branch is designed to enforce them.

Barring a miracle, Sotomayor will survive her confirmation hearings and take a seat in the Supreme Court.

The nomination of Sotomayor, as unethical as she appears to be, will mark another sad day in US History.  I am thankful that she is only replacing an existing liberal leaning judge.

I guess every dark cloud does have a silver lining.

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  • Kurt

    Sotomayor is the MOST qualified candidate for the Supreme Court we’ve had in the last 30 years.

    In simple terms, her qualifications:
    -11 years on the appeals court in the second circuit… described as “one of the most demanding circuits in the country” due to being located in New York.
    -6 years on the US district court (Appointed by George H. W. Bush)
    -5 years as a district attorney.
    -8 years of private practice as a commercial litigator
    -adjunct professor at New York University School of Law from 1998 to 2007
    -Graduated Cum Laude from Princeton, and got her Law Degree from Yale, where she was editor of the Yale Law Journal.

    That alone gives her FAR more experience as a judge then any supreme court justice had at the time they were confirmed. In addition, almost everyone who’s worked with her has praised her as a lawyer.

    -Former Chief Judge of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals and Carter Appointee Jon Newman Said Sotomayor Was “Everything One Would Want in a First-Rate Judge.”
    -Federal Judge And Former Appeals Lawyer Said Sotomayor Was Widely Regarded As An Excellent Judge Who Asked Questions That Were “Penetrating, But Fair.”
    -Founding Dean of UC-Irvine Law School Said Sotomayor “Is an Excellent Choice Because She is an Outstanding Judge.”
    -Lawyer and Supreme Court Expert Tom Goldstein Praises Sotomayor as “Extremely Intelligent” with “Overwhelming” Qualifications.”

    And finally… your entire PREMISE is wrong.

    “Of the majority opinions that Judge Sonia Sotomayor has authored since becoming an appellate judge in 1998, three of her appellate opinions have been overturned by the Supreme Court. Our search for appellate opinions by Sotomayor on the LexisNexis database returned 232 cases. That’s a reversal rate of 1.3 percent.”

    Here’s the link: http://www.newsweek.com/id/199955

    Yes, 60% of her cases THAT WERE REFERRED TO THE SUPREME COURT were overturned. This is normal. If the court hears a case, they are more likely to reverse it then uphold it.

    “During its 2006-2007 term, for instance, the Court reversed or vacated (which, for our purposes here, mean the same thing) 68 percent of the cases before it. The rate was 73.6 percent the previous term. “

    • Ron J

      The accolades that Liberals heap on each other mean very little to me. The simple fact is that judges no matter their political leaning are to uphold the law not make the law. Which is what she is trying to do, and has admitted as much. Thankfully most of those on the Supreme Court do realize what their job is and over rule judges who take the law into their hands. By the way cases are sent to the Supreme Court because there was a fault in the ruling sent down by the judge. That is the case with Sotomayors rulings.

      • Kurt

        Yes, in 1.3% of her rulings. Not 60%.

        Both the 1.3% and 60% numbers are below the average for federal appelate court judges. Nearly 70% of ALL cases reviewed by the supreme court are overturned.

        The whole point of your post is flawed.

        Actually… I guess it’s a little higher now. FOUR of her 232 rulings have been overturned. That’s 1.7%.

        I’d just like to know… did you honestly think she had only issued 8 rulings in her 11 years on the appelate court? Or were you intentionally skewing the statistics to make a political point?

        • Ron J

          Well to be perfectly honest I believe most infromed people do realize that it was not 60% of her cases. In the real world if she would have had all her cases submitted for review to the Supreme Court she would not have been a judge long. So the basic idea here is that she tried to make law from the bench which is not legal. Knowing those simple facts she was over ruled, once again yesterday, she is not a good judge for the Supreme Court. Thank you for allowing me to explain that once again, I felt sure most everyone figured it out the first time especially since there is a link to the information at the bottom of the text.
          So tell me honestly do you think she is a good judge becasue she doesnt know the law or because she tries to change the laws illegally.

          • TexasLIz

            But again, you’ve got your opposition line a little backwards. The Supreme Court when it chooses to consider a case can and does “create” law with their rulings. That is their exclusive role. Appelate courts, on the other hand, cannot. The lower court’s ruling in the recent Ricci case was consistent with existing case law. The SCOTUS exercised their role of interpreting, or “creating” law if you will.

            There may be legitimate objections to Sotomayor, but her reversal rate is not one of htem.

          • Kurt

            Actually, she didn’t try to make law from the bench.

            You have to understand the difference between an apellate justice and a supreme court justice.

            An appellate justice (who knows if I’m spelling that right), has to take a decision that has been appealed and determine if the law as written was followed. Often there are contradictory laws that have to be weighed, but they are NOT allowed to look at if a law is constitutional… simply if it was followed properly as written.

            A supreme court justice has a different mission. They are asked to judge if the law that was followed was legitimate, or of another law (or the constitution) takes precedence.

            When the supreme court overturns a decision due to it following an unconstitutional law, it does not reflect on the appeals court judge who was overturned. The appeals court judge would be DEAD WRONG if they tried to do that… because they are NOT allowed to judge the constitutionality of a law.

            An interesting thing happened when Sen. Sessions was questioning Sotamayor today. He talked about another justice who he believed was what a judge SHOULD be for the supreme court. (Miriam Cedarbaum). Sotamayor’s response:

            “My friend Judge Cedarbaum is here. We are good friends, and I believe that we both approach judging in the same way, which is looking at the facts of each individual case and applying the law to those facts.”

            Cedarbaum confirmed afterwards to the media that he believes that Sotamayor does approach judging in the same manner, and glowingly endorsed her.

            To be honest… she’s handling the Republican line of questioning brilliantly. In another question, Sen. Kyl went on a ten minut tirade about her without really asking a question or bringing up a specific ruling she made.

            Her response:

            “I have a record for 17 years, decision after decision,” she replied. “It is very clear that I don’t base my judgments on my personal experiences or my feelings or my biases. All of my decisions show my respect for the rule of law.”

  • Beverly Z

    I hope she keeps the DVD’s of her confirmation hearings, just to see how incredibly stupid she looks!
    I’m a Catholic voter, and she says that she is a Catholic. Shame on her.
    Does she know the Constitution? Those hearings don’t seem to show anything but her incredible arrogance about her decisions, and her refusal to share her personal views.
    God help this country.