June 5, 2009
As we get closer to the Sotomayor confirmation hearings, many of us are being asked for more information about the first Hispanic nominee to the United States Supreme Court. We should give a shout out to Georgetown University Law School Library’s Libguide on Supreme Court nominations. Not only do they provides background links for Judge Sotomayor, they also give us information about past nomination procedures. It is a very thorough guide that organizes a lot of detail in an easy to use format.
You should also consult the Library of Congress web site on Judge Sotomayor. At the LOC site, there is an expanded list of free web sites that will be tracking her progress to Souther’s seat. They also have some brief Lexis statistics on her past caseload and instructions on how to access this information for free at the Second Circuit web site by using “sotomayor” as your keyword.
As a librarian, I am quite grateful that our nominee as a fairly unique name to search! However, not everyone knows how to spell it properly. A review of law journals shows that both her first and last name cause problems for writers. Sonia is sometimes misspelled as Sonya, and Sotomayor is sometimes misspelled as Sotomayer. If you are searching the journal databases for articles that mention her, you are advised to use universal characters to replace the ‘I’ in Sonia, and the last ‘O’ in Sotomayor.
Out of the many free web sites covering this nomination, I found SCOUTUSBLOG to be most helpful. They are providing an analysis of her decisions and dissents on a variety of topics. For example, the first posting was on May 15 thand includes a review of her decisions on abortion, civil rights, environmental law, first amendment, second amendment, and international law. Also on this posting, under the heading Privacy and Information, librarians might be interested in reading about her decisions on access to information and FOIA. The analysis continues with supplements on May 18th, May 19th, May 20th, May 21st (dissents), and May 28th(circuit court splits). In addition to the case analysis, SCOUTUSBLOG gives us information about this woman’s legal victories and personal achievements. By following the tag “nominations” you will pull up all the postings so far. An added bonus on SCOUTUSBLOG is the updated Press roll on the judge and the nomination process. This is helpful to follow the controversy that naysayers are causing in this process which include matters of race, judicial activism, and the Judge’s rate of reversal.
While there are many articles and broadcasts criticizing and praising Judge Sotomayor, I found her own words posted on YouTubeto be particularly compelling. It does not reveal a lot about her legal rulings, but tells you about the person. This seems to be a growing concern among anti-Sotomayor interests. Many of the objections raised by the anti-Sotomayor camp can be summarized by reading the blog posts from conservative groups like The Judicial Confirmation Network.
President Obama wants the confirmation process completed before the August 7 th Senate recess. The Legal Affairs page at National Public Radio has an interesting post on how the Senate GOP might successfully stall the hearings, among other articles and podcasts about the Judge. C-Span will undoubtedly broadcast the hearings when they do take place along with many other media outlets. It will be interesting to see how much analysis takes place during those hearings and the sort of indexing librarians undertake with respect to her testimony. [VS]
For related Sotomayor coverage on LLB, see,e.g., Sotomayor: The News Coverage Angle and Sotomayor: "Court of Appeals Is Where Policy Is Made" In Context (and More Important Resources Like SCOTUSblog's Summary of Sotomayor's Opinions).
Editor's Note: Please welcome Vicki Szymczak as an LLB Contributing Editor. Vicki is the Library Director and Assistant Professor of Law at the Brooklyn Law School where she teaches courses in Advanced Legal Research and International and Foreign Law Research. Vicki's professional interests encompass the role technology plays in information literacy, library services, and legal education. Her research interests include defining output measurements for law libraries and the impact of open source initiatives on law library operations. Vicki is an active AALL member and currently serves as chair of the Association's Computing Services Special Interest Section. Today's post is the first of many I believe LLB readers will find informative and stimulating. Welcome aboard Vicki! -- Joe Hodnicki
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