Saturday, May 30, 2009

"Racist" Sotomayor Defends White Employee From Dismissal Due to His Circulation of Racist Literature

In its persistent effort to bring facts to the discussion of Sonia Sotomayor, the SCOTUS blog has published a new empirical analysis of all of the race discrimination cases Sotomayor has heard as an appellate court judge. The SCOTUS analysis forcefully debunks the baseless "racist" trope that some conservatives have used to describe her.

Here is a clip from the SCOTUS blog's analysis [Note: In the federal system, 3-judge panels hear all appellate cases, and one judge writes the opinion for the panel.]:
Other than Ricci, Judge Sotomayor has decided 96 race-related cases while on the court of appeals.

Of the 96 cases, Judge Sotomayor and the panel rejected the claim of discrimination roughly 78 times and agreed with the claim of discrimination 10 times; the remaining 8 involved other kinds of claims or dispositions. Of the 10 cases favoring claims of discrimination, 9 were unanimous. (Many, by the way, were procedural victories rather than judgments that discrimination had occurred.) Of those 9, in 7, the unanimous panel included at least one Republican-appointed judge. In the one divided panel opinion, the dissent’s point dealt only with the technical question of whether the criminal defendant in that case had forfeited his challenge to the jury selection in his case. So Judge Sotomayor rejected discrimination-related claims by a margin of roughly 8 to 1.

Of the roughly 75 panel opinions rejecting claims of discrimination, Judge Sotomayor dissented 2 times.
In one case, Sotomayor "dissented from the majority’s holding that the NYPD could fire a white employee for distributing racist materials."

Given these statistics, the SCOTUS blog concludes that: "[I]t seems absurd to say that Judge Sotomayor allows race to infect her decisionmaking." I concur. Alas, I am afraid that conservative opposition to Sotomayor has absolutely nothing to do with "facts." Accordingly, these types of studies may have very little impact, if at all, on the negative rhetoric.


Aeneas said...

I am not going to say much on the issue of the right and left brawl over Sotomayor--other than to quote Noonan: let's all grow up and to say that a level headed, civilized debate and questioning during the confirmation proceedings based on the points of the Constitution and law, not personalities (I wish they had kept the 'empathy' and 'compelling story' out of the equation; it's been nothing but trouble, while it should not be)would be a true breath of fresh air in all this. I am not saying much because I'm on a very steep and fascinating learning curve about the workings of the courts, law, Constitution and so on by reading your posts. I am at that stage when I reserve opinion until I consider myself truly informed and having risen above the screaming, sputtering, foaming at the mouth and howling of pundits and media.

Please, keep us informed and in the know, and level headed. This is indeed fascinating.

Critical Thinker said...

Hola Professor,

Been awhile. I hope life finds you well. I linked you up on the Sotomayor "controversey." I would love your professional take. Please feel free to stop by. As you other commenter noted, all of this is indeed fascinating.

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

I posted a comment on your blog yesterday!

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