Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Glenn Greenwald: Justice Sam Alito on empathy and How Judges Rule.  Rodriguez on Hypocrisy of the Catholic and Mormon Churches 

Judge Sonia Sotomayor made 380 decisions on the Appeals Court and  those that made it to Supreme Court, 3 were reversed and 3 were confirmed. Alito struck out with 2 for 2 reversals. We have to assume that all the other decisions were acceptable for the Supreme Court or not relevant for their consideration. They take only one percent of those considered.

From An attorney who has appeared before the Supreme Court over 30 times runs . This is his comment. He said that 75% of the cases appearing before the Supreme Court are reversed. Sotomayor had six opinions considered and only three reversed to give her a 50% record. If all her decisions at the Appeals Court were considered, her record would be 99.2% correct. 

Her ideology based on her rulings indicate that she is very similar to Souter, but is especially tough on criminals. She decided with the Republican judges that the New Haven rejection of the test for hiring was a decision that should be made by the town.

What really bothered me about the coverage is that the radical right Republicans were given free reign in the media on both CNN and MSNBC to tell ties by citing her statements both out of context and even lying about the meaning of what she said by selective deletions.

Olbermann reported on his live program that Lou Dobbs, just like the Republicans, carefully or not, extracted a statement out of context which is read fully on the Olbermann show and found that Dobbs completely distorted the real meaning of her statements. On Hardball the Republican woman kept insisting that the background and ideology of the Justices does not matter as long as they are competent. Code:  It is all right for White people to be influenced by their background, but not minorities!

Court Case: Is it legal to keep the proportion of minorities and White majority in the Seattle schools as balanced as possible? The approach worked very well. 

Here is a quote by Justice Breyer in the New Yorker article on the Supreme Court: "Breyer offered an unusually public rebuke to his new colleagues. (Roberts and Alito) Jeffrey Toobin's article in the May 18th New Yorker Magazine.

"It is not often in the law that so few have so quickly changed so much," Remember it was Roberts in the Reagan administration who offered the idea of dictatorial Presidential Power that Bush and Cheney implemented with glee! 

The reason Souter changed his ideology from Republican to moderate is the Supreme Court decision of Gore vs Bush. He could not believe what Scalia and his gang did to the constitution.

Jim Kawakami

May 27, 2009

Glenn Greenwald

WEDNESDAY MAY 27, 2009 11:28 EDT

Justice Sam Alito on empathy and judging

[updated below - Update II (with video)] As is true for any Supreme Court nominee, there are many legitimate questions to raise about Sonia Sotomayor, but the smear attacks on her as some sort of "identity politics" poster child -- which are still being justified largely if not entirely by the Jeffrey Rosen/TNR gossipy hit piece on her -- are nothing short of disgusting.  As Anonymous Liberal put it:  "Apparently, the only way to avoid 'identity politics' is to pick white men for every job."  Both Adam Serwer and Daniel Larison note the glaring, obvious hypocrisy in simultaneously insisting that "empathy" has no place in the law while protesting Sotomayor's decision inRicci on the completely law-free ground that what happened to the white firefighters is so "unfair."  And Matt Yglesias writes that he is "really truly deeply and personally pissed off by the tenor of a lot of the commentary on Sonia Sotomayor" and, in a separate post, notes the wildly different treatment accorded Sotomayor and Sam Alito despite very similar records.

With regard to that last point -- how completely different is the reaction to Sam Alito and Sonia Sotomayor -- just consider this exchange that took place at the beginning of Alito's confirmation hearing (h/t sysprog):

U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing on Judge Samuel Alito's Nomination to the Supreme Court

U.S. SENATOR TOM COBURN (R-OK): Can you comment just about Sam Alito, and what he cares about, and let us see a little bit of your heart and what's important to you in life?

ALITO: Senator, I tried to in my opening statement, I tried to provide a little picture of who I am as a human being and how my background and my experiences have shaped me and brought me to this point.

ALITO: I don't come from an affluent background or a privileged background. My parents were both quite poor when they were growing up.

And I know about their experiences and I didn't experience those things. I don't take credit for anything that they did or anything that they overcame.

But I think that children learn a lot from their parents and they learn from what the parents say. But I think they learn a lot more from what the parents do and from what they take from the stories of their parents lives.

And that's why I went into that in my opening statement. Because when a case comes before me involving, let's say, someone who is an immigrant -- and we get an awful lot of immigration cases and naturalization cases -- I can't help but think of my own ancestors, because it wasn't that long ago when they were in that position.

And so it's my job to apply the law. It's not my job to change the law or to bend the law to achieve any result.

But when I look at those cases, I have to say to myself, and I do say to myself, "You know, this could be your grandfather, this could be your grandmother. They were not citizens at one time, and they were people who came to this country."

When I have cases involving children, I can't help but think of my own children and think about my children being treated in the way that children may be treated in the case that's before me.

And that goes down the line. When I get a case about discrimination, I have to think about people in my own family who suffered discrimination because of their ethnic background or because of religion or because of gender. And I do take that into account. When I have a case involving someone who's been subjected to discrimination because of disability, I have to think of people who I've known and admire very greatly who've had disabilities, and I've watched them struggle to overcome the barriers that society puts up often just because it doesn't think of what it's doing -- the barriers that it puts up to them.

So those are some of the experiences that have shaped me as a person. ... 

Proposition 8 and the Sonia Sotomayor nomination expose the hypocritical state of the sexual revolution today.

By Richard Rodriguez

(Rodriguez is Gay.) ...  In 2008 California passed Proposition 8, in no small part due to the defense of traditional marriage by the California Conference of Catholic Bishops and the leadership of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It is an irony worth remarking that both Roman Catholicism and the Mormon Church are governed by elderly men, and both religions have known more than their share of male sexual scandal.

 Indeed, the Catholic clergy in Europe and the United States has been shamed of late by revelations of clerical misbehavior, often involving unwilling boys. Last week, for example, the Irish government released a nine-year study of sexual abuse and sadism committed by Catholic priests and religious orders of brothers over more than 60 years in state reformatories and orphanages. The misbehavior required the acquiescence of civic as well as church officials.

 American bishops have been anxious to change the subject. And what better strategy -- in an era of sexual scandal -- than a crusade to "preserve" marriage by precluding any but a heterosexual and sacramental definition of marriage?

 To fight the legalization of gay marriage by the California court, San Francisco's Catholic Archbishop George Niederauer enlisted the help of Mormon officials in Utah (where Niederauer, for a time, served as bishop).

 The Church of Latter-Day Saints is the fastest-growing religion in America. But, despite its adherence to Republican "family values," the Mormon Church is haunted by a cowboy polygamy (that often entailed marrying underage girls to overage men).

 It would require a comic talent as large as Mark Twain's to do justice to the hypocrisy that joined California's Catholic bishops with Mormon male elders in their campaign for Proposition 8. ... 

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