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No Peril Seen for Sotomayor

Publication Date: 
June 30, 2009
The Washington Post
Jerry Markon and Paul Kane

Lecturer in Law Thomas C. Goldstein, who co-teaches the Supreme Court Litigation Clinic, is quoted in The Washington Post about the impact if any the Ricci ruling might have on Judge Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation to the Supreme Court:

The Supreme Court's rejection of a decision against white firefighters endorsed by Judge Sonia Sotomayor gives Republicans a renewed chance to attack her speeches and writings but is not expected to imperil her confirmation to the high court, political and legal sources said yesterday.

The decision that the New Haven, Conn., firefighters were unfairly denied promotions because of their race comes two weeks before Sotomayor's Senate confirmation hearings and is an unwelcome distraction for the White House from what had seemed like a relatively smooth confirmation process. It is also somewhat of an embarrassment, forcing administration officials to explain why the court overturned a controversial decision backed by its prospective next member.

Sotomayor was on the three-judge appellate court panel that last year upheld New Haven's decision to throw out a promotion test it gave the firefighters when no African Americans and only two Hispanics qualified for advancement. The 134-word order has been the flash point for much of the debate since President Obama nominated Sotomayor for the Supreme Court. The high court yesterday narrowly reversed the appellate court decision, ruling 5-4 in favor of the white firefighters who sued New Haven. It was the fourth time the Supreme Court has overturned Sotomayor; it has upheld her decisions three times. Experts say the court customarily reverses three-quarters of the cases it reviews.


"I don't think it will persuade anybody who is inclined one way or another to change their views about Sotomayor," said Tom Goldstein, a Washington lawyer and founder of the Scotusblog Web site.