Saturday, June 27, 2009

Report concludes Sotomayor's opinions lack strong ideological bent

The Congressional Research Service- a non-partisan body providing research services to both parties and both houses of Congress - released a 59-page report (available here) on Judge Sonia Sotomayor's judicial rulings, ideology, and methodolgy. 

First, the study attempted to discern any indications of an ideological bent in Judge Sotomayor's cases.   On this issue, the study concluded that while the Judge seemed to favor plaintiffs in some cases, "[o]verall, Judge Sotomayor’s opinions defy easy categorization along ideological lines."    Moreover, on the issue of her approach to the judicial role, the report concluded that the Judge's opinions displayed "adherence to the doctrine of stare decisis," "a meticulous evaluation of the particular facts at issue in a case," "adhere[nce] to the plain meaning of the text" in matters of statutory construction, and an "apparent dislike for situations in which the court oversteps the role called for by the procedural posture of a case."  The remainder of the report catalogs and considers Judge Sotomayor's rulings in a number of areas from the First Amendment to Civil Rights to Search and Seizure issues to Executive Power.  The report then analyzes the Judge's rulings in that area for possible trends.

This report should prove to be interesting to both sides in next month's confirmation hearings.  Watch this space for updates.


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