The Chris Powell column
Federal Judge Sonia Sotomayor, just nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court by President Obama, may have a heartwarming personal story as well as the best mother who ever lived in the Bronx. But as a member of the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals she has been on the wrong side of at least four important Connecticut cases.
Sotomayor voted against the New Haven firefighters who were denied promotion because no black firefighters performed well enough to pass a test whose fairness was questioned only as a matter of political patronage when its results became known.
Sotomayor voted against the free-speech rights of the high school student from Burlington, Avery Doninger, who was punished by school administrators for criticizing them in commentary on the Internet.
Sotormayor voted against a Journal Inquirer reporterwho was seeking access to documents about misconduct by FBI agents.
And Sotomayor voted to reverse a lower court's finding that Tribune Co. was monopolizing the news media in the Hartford area, contrary to Federal Communications Commission regulations, by owning two television stations and the state's largest newspaper.
While they usually pretend otherwise, Supreme Court justices are political operatives more than judges, insofar as they rely mostly on their politics to decide cases where the law is said to be ambivalent. Sotomayor may not be the flaming liberal of right-wing caricature, but nothing in her record in those Connecticut cases commends her for the Supreme Court.
Chris Powell is managing editor of the Journal Inquirer.