Ding dong, Justice John Paul Stevens is retiring! Surely you remember when President Obama nominated Justice Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court last summer? Well, gird your loins, kiddies, because it’s time to do it all again.
White House gossips say Obama is considering about 10 possible replacements for Stevens and U.S. Solicitor General Elena Kagan is thought to be on the short list. (Hillary Clinton‘s name is also being mumbled, but somehow I don’t see girlfriend ditching her Secretary of State post.) Let’s get acquainted with Elena Kagan, shall we? Keep reading »
Hotly contested Latina Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor was endorsed by the Senate Judiciary Committee today, by a vote of 13 to 6. Twelve Democrats and one Republican voted for her, which means maybe this thing won’t be so hotly contested after all? The New York Times says that Senate confirmation is pretty much guaranteed, even though some Republicans are pissed because they think Sotomayor is a liberal activist. Do you think Sonia Sotomayor will make a good Supreme Court justice? [NY Times] Keep reading »
Supreme Court justice nominee Sonia Sotomayor is in the middle her confirmation hearings. Each day, we reach new heights of irritation that her impartiality is called into question.
Sen. Jeff Sessions of Senate Judiciary Committee summed up the tone the best on “Face The Nation” on Sunday, when he said, “Every judge must be committed every day to not let their personal politics, their ethnic background, their biases, sympathies influence the nature of their decision-making process.” The implicit question-behind-the-questions seem to be, should Sotomayor not be confirmed because she may judge like a Latina and a woman, instead of like white males who comprise the majority of the Supreme Court?
While, obviously, Sessions is correct that judges must be fair and impartial, it seems to us like Sotomayor’s ethnic background is only a big to do right now because it’s something other than white—as if white people don’t have biases, too. Keep reading »
A lot of people are happy that Barack Obama nominated Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, but Emily Bazelon from Slate found someone in particular who is pretty psyched: the only woman presently sitting on the Court, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg.
Ever since Justice Sandra Day O’Connor retired three years ago, Ginsberg has represented the XX chromosomes on the most important bench in the country with her colleagues—eight men. She spoke with Bazelon for the New York Times‘ Sunday magazine about why the Supreme Court should have more women on it, why women might judge differently than men do, and her concerns about reproductive rights and the legality of abortion.
We collected nine bits of Ginsberg-ian wisdom, after the jump. [The New York Times Magazine] Keep reading »
In 2003, Savanna Redding was 13 when a classmate was caught with prescription strength ibuprofen and told her school administrators she bought the pills from Savanna. So school officials searched Savanna’s backpack. When they found nothing, two female employees took her to the bathroom and strip-searched her to her bra and underwear. Still nothing. So they had Savanna take off her undies and shake them out.
Redding’s mother sued the school district for violating her daughter’s 4th amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure. And the case made it all the way up to the Supreme Court. It’s taken six years, but the court has finally made a ruling: this strip search was not okay. Keep reading »
Just how much does gender influence the way a judge makes decisions?
The New York Times tried to tackle this behemoth question—as it pertains to Sonia Sotomayor, President Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court—in one tight little article this weekend. And while we hate to nitpick, the title alone kinda pissed us off: “Debate On Whether Female Judges Decide Differently Arises Anew.”
Of course men and women are different. We have different life experiences, different hormones coursing through our bodies, and different ideas of what constitutes a clean bathtub. But our problem when talking about differences is more of a semantic one: why is being a male considered “normal,” but being a female is considered “different”? We don’t like the implication of phrases like “will Sotomayor decide differently” or “does Ginsberg decide differently?”, as if decisions made by males are status quo and what should be normal. How did being of the less-represented gender equal some kind of bias? Keep reading »
A 51-year-old anti-abortion activist is in custody in Wichita, KS, after he allegedly shot and killed Dr. George Tiller, 67. Tiller, who had provided abortions to women for over 30 years, was gunned down in the foyer of his church while he passed out the church bulletin. [NY Times]
Some anti-choice extremists think all doctors who perform any abortions should be killed. But Dr. Tiller, in particular, was a lightening rod for controversy because he was one of only three doctors in the country who performed abortions on women in the third trimester, also referred to as “partial birth abortions.” But why are abortions in the second or third trimesters so controversial? Here are five things you’re probably asking yourself right now. Keep reading »
We think it’s pretty dope that Sonia Sotomayor, Obama’s pick for Supreme Court justice, is (a) a lady and (b) could the first person of Hispanic descent to don Supreme Court robes. But many pro-choice advocates are sounding alarm bells today because they have a sneaking suspicion that, once on the bench, Sotomayor may not uphold Roe v. Wade, something they think should be a “no duh” for a judge appointed by a pro-choice president. What’s got them worried, after the jump… [NY Times]
Keep reading »