Archive for "Supreme Court"

A Black Women on the Supreme Court?

Published by Pamela Gentry on Tuesday, April 13, 2010 at 12:31 am.

April 13, 2010 – There might be at least one African-American on President Obama’s short list to fill a vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court.Judge_Sears

The Associated Press is reporting Leah Ward Sears, the former chief justice of the Georgia Supreme Court and close friend of Associate Justice Clarence Thomas is being considered. Sears, 54 joins a list or more than a half-dozen names being tossed about to fill the seat of retiring Associate Justice John Paul Stevens.

Stevens announced last week his plan to retire this summer.  The list of possible replacements seems to increase with each passing  day.  Sears will joins others being considered by the White House including; federal appeals court judges Diane Wood of Chicago, Sidney Thomas of Montana and Merrick Garland of Washington, Solicitor General Elena Kagan, Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

Several of the candidates, including Sears, made the list last year when the president was seeking a replacement for retiring Justice David Souter.  The president ultimately selected Justice Sonia Sotomeyer, a federal appeals court judge from New York making her the first Latino to serve on the high court.

The Atlanta Constitution reports Sears broke a number of barriers as a judge. She was appointed by former Gov. Zell Miller (D)  in 1992 to the state Supreme Court, and was the first woman and youngest person ever to sit on the court. In 1995, Sears became the nation’s first black woman to preside over a state Supreme Court as chief justice.

Sears shares her South Georgia hometown roots with Justice Thomas, the only African-American on the court.  Some court watchers have predicted their friendship may not be a plus; it seems it was discussed when her name surfaced in 2009. 

Would you  like to see the president select an African-American for the Supreme Court?

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Sonia Sotomayor Hearing Begins

Published by Pamela Gentry on Monday, July 13, 2009 at 12:59 am.

By Pamela Gentry, Senior Political Analyst

July 13, 2009 – When the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing gets underway on Monday for Supreme Court nominee Sonia Stotomayor, Democrats and Republicans will present two very different images of her 17-year record as a federal judge. sotomayor_2

But in the end: Stotomayor will be confirmed as the 111th associate justice.

Republicans are expected to pepper her with questions on abortion, affirmative action, and a handful of rulings they think reveal a judicial prejudice.   

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), the Senate Judiciary Committee’s ranking Republican, told The Wall Street Journal, “It’s somewhat odd that three of the biggest constitutional cases she decided were the most truncated opinions that you can almost imagine.”

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) told Fox News on Sunday, “We’re not going to filibuster Judge Sotomayor.”  Cornyn said the way Democrats responded  in 2003 when President George Bush nominated Miguel Estrada for a seat on the appeals court is obviously still a sore spot with the GOP.

Sotomayor enters these hearings with experience, respect in judicial circles and with a reputation of impartiality when applying the law.  The fact that she is a woman and a Latino is a bonus, but not the reason she was nominated by President Obama.

The hearings are expected to last all week followed by a committee vote sending her nomination to the full Senate: the final step needed for confirmation.   The president is asking for a speedy process that would assure Sotomayor would be sworn in for the next session and seated by the first Monday in October.

It’s obvious partisans on the committee are planning to challenge Sotomayor’s 2001 comment when she said in effect,  she hoped “a wise Latina” would more often reach better decisions than a White male judge.

Session called the remark “divisive.”  This could be a slippery slope for the GOP.  If they attack Sotomayor as a “Latino” nominee and make her heritage the issue – they will see a backlash from the Latino community, who will see this as an unwarranted attack.  They will also chip away at any hopes of wooing Latino voters in 2010 or 2012. 

If confirmed, Sotomayor will not change the ideology of the court’s makeup. During this week hearings the Dems just have to keep her record and experience on the table and let the Republicans decide just how far they want to go.

Do you think Sotomayor should be confirmed?

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