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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Almost 1200 professors from across the country endorse Sotomayor

Today, law professors from across the country released a letter in support of Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination to the Supreme Court.

With almost 1,200 signatories from 170 law schools in 49 states (Alaska does not currently have a law school) the letter has been signed by many renowned legal scholars from across the ideological spectrum.

On a call today, six of those professors: Charles Ogletree (Harvard), Laurence Tribe (Harvard), Arthur Miller (NYU), Daniel Richman (Columbia), Evan Caminker (Michigan), and Robert Weisberg ( Stanford) --further explained the outpouring of support for Judge Sotomayor in the legal community.

Professor Laurence Tribe of Harvard Law commented on the diverse and numerous signatories. “I don’t know of any instance where there has been anything like this diversity – geographically and ideologically it is the most diverse as well as longest list in support of a Supreme Court nominee.” He also noted that conservative attempts to cherry pick one or two cases from her record does not represent who she is as a jurist and that casting such doubts on Judge Sotomayor would essentially mean that anyone with a substantial record would be unconfirmable. Professor Tribe dismissed this notion, observing that he couldn't "think of a more solidly confirmable candidate in decades."

Professor Charles Ogletree, also of Harvard, reflected on Sotomayor’s record in regard to the current make-up of the court. “Today there are only moderate judges on the court, conservatives, and ultra-conservatives. No liberals. Thousands of Sotomayor's opinions have never indicated what I consider liberal or progressive points of view. Always very pragmatic, she will be a tremendous asset to the court.”

Professor Arthur Miller of New York University noted that Judge Sotomayor's legal background will make her a refreshing addition to the Court. "She will bring to the court rich experience at the trial and appellate level. She will bring that trial experience to a court that is 100% appellate in background with no experience in the trenches." He further explained that much of what the Supreme Court does is promulgate rules for trial judges and juries to follow, and having a justice with trial experience will help the Supreme Court better craft those decisions in a way that lower courts can more easily apply. Professor Miller ultimately described Sotomayor as a "centrist whose crowning characteristic will be her professionalism" and he is "delighted that someone who brings process, craft, caution, respect and a great deal of tolerance" has been nominated.

The letter was given to the Senate Judiciary Committee only days before the confirmation hearings will begin on July 13th. Professors also predicted that the wide range of support Sotomayor has received leading up to the hearings is a testament to just how confirmable she is.

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