WASHINGTON, June 29 The United States Supreme Court reversed Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor in the now-famous New Haven firefighters case. Although Judge Sotomayor and two of her colleagues did not even think the case worthy of a published opinion, the Supreme Court said the case presented “two provisions of Title VII to be interpreted and reconciled, with few, if any, precedents in the courts of appeals discussing the issue.”
Concerned Women for America (CWA) President Wendy Wright said, “This decision sends a disturbing message that Sonia Sotomayor, as a judge, sanctioned discrimination against people because of the color of their skin. This validates concerns that Judge Sotomayor’s judicial philosophy reflects her personal bias, as expressed in speeches and the controversial groups to which she has belonged, that people should be discriminated against based on their ethnicity or sex. No one in a burning building cares if their fire chief is a minority. A firefighter’s qualifications can determine if innocent people will live or die. Yet Judge Sotomayor denied qualified firefighters a promotion in order to advance her ethnic politics. Judge Sotomayor’s decision in the Ricci case proves that questions about her fitness to serve at the Supreme Court are legitimate. Her decisions suggest such an enormous bias in her philosophy that we could not fault anyone in her courtroom for questioning her impartiality.”
“In choosing a Supreme Court nominee, President Obama said ‘I will seek someone who understands that justice … is also about how our laws affect the daily realities of people’s lives, whether they can make a living, and care for their families, whether they feel safe in their homes, and welcome in their own nation. I view that quality of empathy, of understanding and identifying with peoples hopes and struggles as an essential ingredient for arriving at just decisions and outcomes.’ Judge Sotomayor’s unjust decision in the Ricci case shows that she does not fit that description. She denied firefighters the well-deserved promotions and, by doing so, was willing to make people unsafe in their homes.”
Mario Diaz, Esq., CWA’s Policy Director for Legal Issues, said the Ricci case “exposes not only bias, but arrogance on the part of a judge at the brink of getting a lifetime appointment to the highest court of the land. How she thought this case did not even deserve a published opinion is beyond comprehension. It seems ethnicity and gender not only ‘play a role’ in her judgment as she has said, but they actually control her judgment to the point where she can no longer look at the facts of a case impartially. Looking at her record, it seems her passion for minorities is such that she would need to recuse herself from any case involving a minority party in litigation.
“Unless she renounces her own statements and has some strong explanation for her actions in cases like Ricci at her hearings, I don’t see how any Senator, or even the President himself, can feel confident about her fitness to serve at the Supreme Court.”