Tag Archives: Supreme Court

Will Kagan Pursue a “Liberal” Agenda?

The attempts to frame Elena Kagan pre-emptively as a wild-eyed, party-line liberal, socialist even, and quite possibly a lesbian who “looks like she belongs in a Kosher deli” (wink, wink, you vestigial anti-Semites), started long before President Obama uttered her name as his second pick for the Supreme Court.

On day three of the confirmation hearings, in which Judiciary committee Chair Patrick Leahy (D-VT) plans to conclude the ritual grilling of the fourth woman ever nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court, no one on either side of the aisle seems to imagine a scenario in which she won’t be confirmed.

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Sotomayor’s Confirmation—What Her Victory May Cost the Republicans

Conservatives tried to convince the Senate, and the nation, that an impressive judge with an impeccable record was simply a product of affirmative action. It didn’t work.

By Peggy Simpson for the Women’s Media Center, reprinted with permission.

The confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor as the third woman and first Latina to sit on the Supreme Court never was a done-deal.

It might look like it from the 68 to 31 vote of approval in the Senate Thursday.
But there were bumps along the way, potential derailments that were dealt with and some bizarre resurrections by conservatives of Reagan-era complaints that white males were victims of affirmative action policies that benefit women and minorities.

Here’s what helped Sotomayor clinch the job:

  • impressive coalitions by liberal advocacy groups, including the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, with feminist and reproductive rights groups stifling initial qualms about their uncertainties about her views on abortion;
  • unwavering support from Team Obama, especially in the midst of early accusations by conservative activists that she was a racist or worse, when even some supporters were nervous about remarks she made in 2001 about the virtues of being a “wise Latina.” She never apologized or took back those thoughts but did acknowledge a “poor choice” of words;
  • most of all, her own steady performance before the cameras in hearings that had been expected to feature fireworks but instead bordered on boring. Boring was good, in this context. Behind the scenes, Sotomayor visited with an unprecedented number of senators and by all accounts was a charmer. She carried that civility and personal touch into the Senate hearings with gestures, smiles and mini-conversations with GOP senators she knew would oppose her.

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Sotomayor Confirmation: ‘Splaining Bias and Other Tidbits of Gender and Ethnicity

Are You Biased? Yesterday, Sonia Sotomayor faced down predictably pointed questions from white male Republican senators who seemed to be worried their hegemony might be on the wane. She was asked repeatedly about what biases she might bring to judging …

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Sotomayor–People and Places to Watch for Real Confirmation News

You might be a C-Span or CNN junkie, but if you are looking for some up close and personal takes on the Senate Judiciary Committee’s confirmation hearings on Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination to the Supreme Court, here are a couple of other ideas for you:

* The Sunlight Foundation’s “Transparent Justice” gives excellent background on the process and places where you can find information beyond the political smokescreen. Also, I like C-Span’s resource page.
* If you twitter, you can follow Erica Gonzalez, editor of El Diario/La Prensa, the largest Hispanic-oriented newspaper in the country, sototmayorscotus for general updates, or Nan Aron who’ll be tweeting for the Alliance for Justice.
* For additional analysis, see Time magazine’s piece on how the Republicans will try to attack and the Women’s Media Center’s media justice campaign.

Please post your favorite sources for this news in the comments section below. Watch MSNBC’s livestream:

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Penetrating Sotomayor’s Judicial Philosophy: My Interview With Diane Walsh

The Glass Wall: The People vs. Obama’s Supreme Court nomination
by Diane Walsh
Penetrating Sotomayor’s judicial philosophy is proving no easy task. Will we get the information we need to properly evaluate the merits of the US President’s ambiguous choice for the high court – before it’s too late? The media is in a frenzied state over this nominee – Judge Sonia Sotomayor. One would expect this, given the stakes that her nomination holds for the fate of abortion rights – which are currently hanging in the balance.

What is Sotomayor’s view about a woman’s right to make childbearing decisions? Oddly, there is nothing concrete that we know about her actual judicial philosophy. No one seems to know exactly – because there is no clear answer being laid bare.

This is creating much unease on both sides of the political spectrum. There is a fundamental lack of information flowing. This is unacceptable. I decided to seek out Gloria Feldt, former president of US Planned Parenthood, to get her take on the Sotomayor nomination. She’s the quintessential trailblazer of the pro-choice lobby.

Gloria initiated the Prevention First Act and reintroduction of a new, improved, Freedom of Choice Act. Her “fight forward” mission is further exemplified on her blogs and through her speeches and writings, all accessible through her website: www.gloriafeldt.com, including 30 years on the frontline. So, needless to say, she’s in a position to evaluate the ‘threats’ that Sotomayor presents, if any, should Sotomayor be confirmed as a Supreme Court Justice.

Diane Walsh: Have you managed to find out whether Judge Sotomayor believes that Roe vs. Wade is “settled law” (under the precept of stare decisis)?

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For the President’s Suggestion Box: Nominate a Woman

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg says she’s lonesome being the Court’s only woman. The New York Times pointed out that President Obama will have no lack of highly qualified women to consider when filinghis first vacancy because of the stunning advances …

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Setting the World Aright for Reproductive Rights

My new post in On the Issues is up today. They call it “A Do Over for Reproductive Rights”. I had named it “Turning the World Upside Down to See Reproductive Justice”. I liked their alliteration, so I came up with “Turning the World Aright for for Reproductive Rights.” Anyway, I don’t believe in do overs. Here’s the commentary:

Lars Larson is a conservative radio talk show host with a following of four million listeners. His producer assured me, when asking me to appear for Roe v Wade’s 36th anniversary, that Lars is respectful, though he would take views opposite to mine. No problem, I said, as long as I can speak my piece.

My “piece” led me to talk about where I think the debate should be: squarely on women’s human rights to make their own childbearing decisions, access to preventive family planning services, and economic justice, as well as abortion. It flipped Lars out. When he couldn’t keep the conversation on pitting the innocent baby against the murderous woman who stupidly didn’t use birth control, he started spinning. He lectured me during the commercial break—in stern-father tones—that I was speaking my piece a little too much for his comfort. Perhaps I wasn’t being the desired foil.
Though he began by challenging me with the focus on the fetus, within seconds he shifted to peppering me with denigrating statements about women. What clearer example could there be of the sexism that puts all responsibility and blame for unintended pregnancy on women?

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Obama in St. Louis: Metaphor for America (Guest Post by Mark Salo)

Of all things during this last pre-election week, I’m in the utter chaos of moving into a new apartment, unpacking boxes filled with material elements of life while watching the increasingly frenzied campaign coverage on CNN. As though we’d picked …

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Palin Speech: Sneers Like Cheney–but if You Go Moose Hunting with Her, Hope She’s a Better Shot

John McCain’s vice presidential running mate, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, delivered an engaging speech last night at the Republican National Convention. Her roaring crowd voraciously devoured every morsel of the copious red meat she served up with a fierceness that …

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Partial Truth Decision

“[The] partial birth abortion ban is a political scam but a public relations goldmine…The major benefit is the debate that surrounds it.”

So said Randall Terry, founder of Operation Rescue, a militant anti-choice group that blockaded abortion providers, in 2003.

Today’s U.S. Supreme Court’s Gonzales v Carhart decision upholding the federal abortion ban is based that pubic relations goldmine. It is a travesty of language bought and repeated endlessly by journalists who were sometimes uninformed and sometimes just too lazy to get it right.

Indeed, the travesty of language around abortion is so pervasive that even Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing the decision for the Court’s majority, in addition to using the term “partial birth abortion”, also used the term “abortion doctor” repeatedly in the ruling. Why did he not simply refer to doctors as “doctors”, or if ob/gyns call them “ob/gyns”? If another surgical procedure were under scrutiny, would he have he referred to “tonsillectomy doctor” or “hysterectomy doctor”? Of course not. But those who want to take away a woman’s human right to make her own childbearing decisions entirely have for so long used the term “abortion doctor” as an epithet that they have succeeded in getting even the highest court in the land to use their language.

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