Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sotomayor: 60% Reversal Rate

Is this historic?

Has a Supreme Court nominee ever had this sort of High Court reversal rate?

With Judge Sonia Sotomayor already facing questions over her 60 percent reversal rate, the Supreme Court could dump another problem into her lap next month if, as many legal analysts predict, the court overturns one of her rulings upholding a race-based employment decision.

Three of the five majority opinions written by Judge Sotomayor for the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals and reviewed by the Supreme Court were reversed, providing a potent line of attack raised by opponents Tuesday after President Obama announced he will nominate the 54-year-old Hispanic woman to the high court.

"Her high reversal rate alone should be enough for us to pause and take a good look at her record. Frankly, it is the Senates duty to do so," said Wendy Wright, president of Concerned Women for America.

It's true that Sotomayor has a compelling personal story, but she also has a compelling reversal rate.

The Left hasn't been this atwitter over someone's background since Obama's story took on mythic proportion.

Not to get into dueling personal stories, but Clarence Thomas has an extremely compelling personal story of his own.


Anonymous said...

The less successful one is, if a liberal, the more popular they are, with the left-wing liberal hierarchy. This happens time and time again.

With Sotomayor's attitudes and views, along with her incompetence, she is the perfect candidate for the liberal mind. As long as she has the correct views, she's in. And, it won't matter how much she lies about herself either. Such is the way of left-wing liberal land.

Mary said...

Elections have consequences.

When Obama took office, it was a seismic change. No doubt about it.

I've been trembling ever since.

Anonymous said...

This is a completely bogus talking point. She's had 3 decisions reversed out of the 380 that she's written. That sounds pretty good to me. (Opponents have come up with the 60% figure by looking only at the 5 decisions she's written that have made it to the Supreme Court.) And the Supreme Court reverses over 75% of the cases they take, so she's actually done better than most appellate judges.

Mary said...

Thank you, Media Matters. (Why does this hack Dem organization have tax-exempt status?)

I digress.

It's not a bogus talking point.

Sotomayor isn't just any judge. She's been nominated to be one of the nine.

It's significant that the Supreme Court has struck down 3 out of 5 of her opinions.

More important are issues of "her temperament, her judicial craftsmanship, and most of all, her ability to provide an intellectual counterweight to the conservative justices, as well as a clear liberal alternative."

Source: The New Republic

Mary said...

Sotomayor isn't that bright, but she does have a compelling personal story.

Mary said...

And she's Hispanic with XX chromosomes.

Anonymous said...

Sontomayor is a summa cum laude graduate of Princeton and was on law review at Yale Law School. Claiming that she "isn't that bright" simply reveals that you're an imbecile.

S said...

This is not a valid talking point. The Supreme Court has taken cert in 5 cases she wrote, out of over 300. From the fact that 3 of those 5 resulted in reversals, you want to extract that she's a terrible judge who gets it wrong 60% of the time? Anyone with any rudimentary knowledge of statistics could tell you that's really, really fuzzy math.

The reality is that the US Supreme Court only takes a fraction of the cases presented to them for consideration. And they don't waste their time on cases just to pat the good little appellate judges on the head. The vast majority of appellate court judges throughout the nation would have similar numbers to Sotomayor's. In fact, her reversal rate might be below average.

I'm sure you can find real things to criticize her about, but this reversal rate thing isn't valid.

S said...

Oh, and Justice Alito's reversal rate was 100%. Every one of his written opinions from his time on the federal appellate court that the US Supreme Court considered was reversed. Guess he isn't fit for the high court.

Mary said...

When I said Sotomayor isn't that bright, I wasn't clear.

Of course, she's intelligent.

What I meant was that relatively speaking, according to her colleagues that Rosen cites in his article in The New Republic, there are doubts about whether she has the intellectual capacity to go up against conservatives on the Court.

They don't consider Sotomayor to be a "judicial star of the highest intellectual caliber."

Note to "anonymous, 6:31 PM, May 27, 2009": No ad hominem attacks on other commenters.

Mary said...


Carefully read my original post and read my comments.

You're making leaps and putting words in my mouth.

Get a grip.

Obviously, this reversal thing has riled the Leftists.

Let's talk about Sotomayor's record. Let's talk about her questionable/racist remarks. Let's talk about her qualifications, other than her ethnicity and gender. Let's talk about her judgment based on the whims of her empathy rather than the Constitution.

Anonymous said...

"Obviously, this reversal thing has riled the Leftists." No, it's not a left/right thing. It has riled rational folks because it's so incredibly dumb. Did you know that by your same standard, Alito had a 100% reversal rate? Only two of his decisions were taken up by the Supreme Court and both were reversed. And, as is the case here, it provided no insight into Alito's qualifications for the Court.

Face it, she deserves to be confirmed and will be, fairly easily.

S said...

Yeah, I guess I misread the title of your post, trumpeting her 60% reversal rate. And I totally misunderstood this line: "Has a Supreme Court nominee ever had this sort of High Court reversal rate?" And when a commenter pointed out this wasn't a valid talking point, you still disagreed.

You wrote a post about a bogus talking point. You have been rightly called on it. So your response is to say I need to get a grip because I obviously misunderstood the real point of your post and comments.

It is true that you did point out other possible complaints, but don't pretend you didn't make your main issue about the reversal rate.

Now that you want to get on to real things, let's start with her qualifications: second in her class at Princeton, an editor of the Yale Law Journal, taught at NYU and Columbia law schools. 6 years as a federal district judge. 11 years as a federal appellate judge. Several current Supreme Court justices did not have such a strong resume.

Please read her entire speech at the Berkeley event (the text is available online) and read the context surrounding the one quote that has been pulled out. I think only then can we fairly talk about whether her comments were racist or not.

Empathy is a necessary quality for any judge, but I don't think I'm going to convince you of that. Empathy isn't code for ignoring the law; it's a tool for judges to use to help them get beyond their own individual biases. Justice Alito made similar comments during his own confirmation process.

As for her intellect, I have no reason to doubt she's brilliant. I have not personally read any of her opinions, so I cannot comment on the quality of her writing or her legal analysis. That is the sort of thing that a confirmation process should flesh out. But I can tell you that I have heard lawyers make similar statements about the written opinions of Justice Scalia.

Mary said...

I have no doubt that Sotomayor will be confirmed easily.

Unfortunately, it will be for the wrong reasons.

Anonymous said...

Moderate democrats know that the confirmation of this left-wing judicial activist is the worse thing that can happen for a future election issue.

If, on the Supreme Court, Sotomayor continues to do what she has always done, and she will, this will be the political gift that keeps on giving for the Republicans for years and years.

The democrats need to be careful what they are wishing for, they very well might get it.

Mary said...

I agree.