Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sotomayor Nomination - Initial Reaction Round-up Part II - On the Issues

This portion of the round-up will focus on what selected news outlets have reported about Judge Sonia Sotomayor's positions on various issues.


Apparently, Judge Sotomayor has yet to rule in a domestic abortion case.  However, she has ruled in a case regarding the "Mexico City Policy" or the "global gag rule."  In that case, she ruled in favor of upholding the policy.

Business and Commerce

The Wall Street Journal reports that "There is no reason for the business community to be concerned . . . The judge has “ruled in favor of preemption about half of the times that the issue has been presented to her."   Moreover, the Journal states that Judge Sotomayor "has sided with defendants in cases involving the standards that govern when cases can be brought as a class actions and the extent to which plaintiffs’ claims can be preempted by more defense-friendly federal or international laws."


A piece from reminds us that Judge Sotomayor once practiced IP law and also ruled on IP issues on the Second Circuit.  Thus, according to the website,“If confirmed, she will be the first justice who has written cyberlaw-related opinions before joining the court.”  In one case, the article notes she ruled against Netscape, stating, "We conclude that in circumstances such as these, where consumers are urged to download free software at the immediate click of a button, a reference to the existence of license terms on a submerged screen is not sufficient to place consumers on inquiry or constructive notice of those terms.”

Employment Law

The Wall Street Journal reports that Judge Sotomayor "has repeatedly sided with employees who claimed they were the victims of discrimination or a hostile work environment."  In support, the Journal cites a case from 2000 wherein Sotomayor reinstated the plaintiff's hostile-work-environment claim.  But, the same article reports that Judge Sotomayor has been "far from a reliable vote" for plaintiffs in employment discrimination cases.  According to the WSJ, "In 1999, for example, she ruled against a black nurse, who claimed she had been fired from Staten Island University Hospital in New York due her race and age and the fact that she had suffered a debilitating injury. Judge Sotomayor ruled that the plaintiff, Wendy Norville, could move ahead on her disability claim, but tossed out the race and age claims."

This is just the beginning.  More information - and of course, analysis - will be forthcoming.  Also, for a more in depth consideration of Judge Sotomayor's opinions, please see the four part series at SCOTUSBlog.  (Part I of the series is here.) 


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