-- Sonia Sotomayor, Contender for U.S. Supreme
Court and Rubber Stamp for Travesty Kravitz
By ANDY THIBAULT
The Cool Justice Report
May 3, 2009
EDITOR'S NOTE: This column is available for reprint courtesy of The Cool Justice Report, http://cooljustice.blogspot.com
In the news: Sonia Sotomayor, a federal appeals court judge from New York, has been mentioned as a top contender to fill a U.S. Supreme Court vacancy.
Every judge / politician has baggage. Some of Sotomayor's baggage is fundamental: She is on the record as an enemy of free speech.
We can and have done far worse, according to a New York civil rights lawyer who has seen Sotomayor in action. His moderate view is that in the future she would make precedent rather than codify the shoddy work of government-friendly judges like Connecticut's Travesty Kravitz.
-- Travesty Kravitz
No matter how politically correct a choice Sotomayor might be as an Hispanic woman, her anti-free speech opinion in the Famous Douche Bag Case -- Avery Doninger V. Paula Schwartz / Karissa Niehoff [Connecticut's Regional District 10] makes her at least an intellectual cousin of that rat bastard judge who wrote the Go Torture Rules for Bush / Cheney / Rumsfeld.
-- VERBOTEN T-SHIRTS
Sotomayor failed miserably as a supposed critical thinker when presented with the flawed work product of Travesty Kravitz. The onus is on her to make the case for advancement.
This is a good time to look at the lifetime tenure we give this privileged class of unaccountable government employees. Even with 10-year appointments there would be only a little bit of accountability, but that's better than what we have now.
There is no bigger politician than a judge, bishop or school superintendent. Beware of any who proclaim they are not politicians: They just do their political bidding with smaller groups of people in private.
Kudos to Fordham Prof Paul Levinson for last night's post that began a groundswell of opposition to Sotomayor from those who would preserve and protect the Bill of Rights.
Sotomayor's Anti-First Amendment Decision
Should Disqualify Her for Supreme Court
According to Sam Stein in the Huffington Post, Sonia Sotomayor is "the odds-on favorite" to be chosen by Barack Obama to fill retiring Justice David Souter's seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. She now sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals of the Second Circuit in New York City. She is regularly described as liberal and a judicial activist - fine in my book - and it would good to have a first Hispanic and another woman on the Supreme Court.
But she has one major, very bad decision on free speech and press to her discredit, which should give everyone who values these freedoms in our society serious cause for concern about Sotomayor's possible nomination to the High Court.
The decision came from Sotomayor's Second Circuit Court last May, regarding Lewis Mills High School student Avery Doninger. While running for Senior Class Secretary, Ms. Doninger found reason to object to the school's cancellation of a "jamfest" event, and characterized those who scotched the event as "douchebags" on her off-campus LiveJournal blog (she also characterized a school official in that same blog posting as getting "pissed off"). The school officials, in turn, took umbrage, prohibited Avery from running for Class Secretary, and disregarded the plurality of votes she received, anyway, as a write-in candidate. Avery sued the school officials, and the Federal District Court supported the school. Avery appealed to Sotomayor's Second Circuit Court.
Paul Levinson is an author and professor of communications and media studies at Fordham University in New York City. Levinson's novels, short fiction, and non-fiction works have been translated into twelve languages. He has been a Professor of Communication and Media Studies at Fordham University since 1998; he was Chair of the department from 2002 to 2008.
Student Was Punished
For Seeking Redress Of Grievances
After Postponements, Cancellation
Of Popular Music Festival
Following is a Readers Digest version
of the Doninger case:
Avery Doninger, a volunteer in the Americorps national public service program, has a civil rights trial pending in New Haven U.S. District Court. [Among her duties on the job: helping hurricane victims in Texas.]
Avery, a 2008 graduate of Lewis Mills High School in Burlington, CT, and her mother, Lauren Doninger, sued Principal Karissa Niehoff and Superintendent Paula Schwartz [now retired] after they removed Avery from the ballot for class secretary.
Avery Doninger was among a group of four students who lobbied the community for support of an annual battle of the bands sponsored by the Student Council. The student council adviser suggested the students reach out to taxpayers and the students copied the adviser an on email to the community.
Schwartz became very upset after taxpayers called her and she cancelled the event known as Jamfest. Doninger subsequently referred to administrators in a live journal blog as central office douche bags, and Schwartz's son found the posting while trolling the internet for his mother a couple weeks later. While Avery Doninger was banned from school office, another student who called Schwartz a dirty whore was given an award and lauded for citizenship.
School officials suppressed the write-in vote in which Doninger was elected by a plurality. Schwartz refused to accept Doninger's apology for her choice of words. During an assembly, Niehoff banned free-speech and Team Avery t-shirts and seized at least one shirt.
The Doningers have been seeking -- among other remedies -- an apology for civil rights violations and recognition of the write-in victory.
New Haven U.S. District Judge Mark Kravitz denied a motion for a preliminary injunction [immediate relief] in August 2007. Based on errors in the record, Travesty Kravitz's injunction ruling was upheld by the U.S. Second Circuit in New York.
Travesty Kravitz held a hearing in November 2008 on Doninger's request for a trial. He cut off discussion about various frauds - including false testimony - upon the court and ultimately ordered a trial on Jan. 15, 2009. But, he limited the scope of the trial to the narrow issue of the suppression and seizure of free speech t-shirts.
Appeals are likely on a number of rulings narrowing the scope of the case.
On Jan. 22, 2009, Connecticut State Senator Gary LeBeau filed a landmark bill to protect student speech.
On Jan. 23, 2009, Travesty Kravitz scheduled jury selection and a trial for civil rights violations related to the suppression and seizure of free speech t-shirts.