Sunday, August 9, 2009

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor

Hooray for the Bronx!
by Charlie Leck

I was born in the Bronx – on Saint Anne’s Avenue – and I have a soft spot for people who come from the Bronx. I haven’t the slightest idea why. It’s just something that happens to all of us, I guess. We have an affection for the place where we came into this life.

So, I have a rather intense feeling of pride today because Sonia Sotomayor was sworn in as a Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. She took the oath yesterday (Saturday). What a great day for the Bronx. What a wonderful day for American Latinos – for Latinos!

I have a feeling that Sotomayor is going to be a great Supreme Court Justice! And, I have a feeling she is really going to surprise a lot of us.

First of all, she is going to be a very active Supreme Court Justice. Please note that I did not say “activist.” She will not be an activist judge. She will be an active judge. She will ask questions and enter into dialog with the constitutional lawyers who appear before the court. She’ll be active in writing decisions – both affirming and dissenting decisions.

The really big surprise that Sotomayor will hit us with is that she won’t be an excessively liberal justice. She’ll be very balanced. She’ll pay greater respect to precedent than many Justices do. It’s one reason why I feel Roe v. Wade (the abortion ruling) will stand pat as far as her opinion is concerned. Nevertheless, she won’t be a consistently liberal justice. Some of us will be disappointed with some of her rulings.

The thing that will amaze us about Justice Sotomayor is that she will be thorough and thoughtful in making decisions and those decisions, even when they disappoint us, will be soundly and completely reasonable. Unlike some current Justices, when she goes into court, she will be thoroughly prepared.

This is one classy, bright, well-educated and thoroughly balanced lady. She is one of the best Supreme Court picks in a long, long time. I’m extremely proud of her.

Go girl!

The NY Times has a brilliant multimedia time-line of Sotomayor's life that culminates with a video of her swearing in administered by Chief Justice John Roberts [click here to see it].

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