Skip to contentNational Women's Law Center

Womenstake, NWLC's Blog

Judge Sotomayor's Confirmation Hearings Begin: Signals of What Lies Ahead

Posted by | Posted on: July 13, 2009 at 03:06 pm

by Marcia D. Greenberger, Co-President, 
National Women's Law Center 

This post is part of a series about the nomination of Judge Sotomayor for the Supreme Court.

I am here in the hearing room as the Supreme Court confirmation hearings begin this morning.  Senators on the Committee are giving their opening statements which are highlighting the themes that each Senator (and each party, more broadly) will be trying to elicit in the course of the hearings.  These statements are the precursor to the questions the Senators will ask Judge Sotomayor, beginning tomorrow morning.  For several days, Senators will engage Judge Sotomayor in a serious discussion of the legal issues of the day, including constitutional rights like the right to privacy and Equal Protection, and statutes that protect Americans from discriminatory treatment and provide health and safety protections.

Bookending Judge Sotomayor’s direct testimony will be testimony by other witnesses.  Last Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee announced the witnesses who will testify later this week. There are 13 witnesses called by the Democrats, and 14 called by the Republicans.  And like this morning’s statements by Judiciary Committee Senators, the testimony of those witnesses will sound a number of themes.

Read more... Add new comment

A Historic Day

Posted by Robin Reed, Director of Online Communications | Posted on: July 13, 2009 at 12:36 pm

by Robin Reed, Online Outreach Manager, 
National Women’s Law Center 

This post is part of a series about the nomination of Judge Sotomayor for the Supreme Court.

Read more... Add new comment

A Step Forward for Women in DC

Posted by Bethany Sousa, Senior Counsel | Posted on: July 12, 2009 at 01:34 pm

by Bethany Sousa, Senior Counsel, 
National Women’s Law Center 

Read more... Add new comment

Talking Points: A New York Times interview with Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Posted by NWLC, Intern | Posted on: July 10, 2009 at 09:06 pm

by Amy Rosenthal, Outreach Intern, 
National Women's Law Center

This post is part of a series about the nomination of Judge Sotomayor for the Supreme Court.

Read more... Add new comment

A Supreme Court "Of the People, by the People, and for the People"

by Neena Chaudhry, Senior Counsel,
National Women’s Law Center

This post is part of a series about the nomination of Judge Sotomayor for the Supreme Court.

As we approach the Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Judge Sonia Sotomayor, much has been made of the fact that, if confirmed, she would be the first Latina on the Court and only the third woman. Many have praised her choice as one that will contribute to diversity on the Court, while others have condemned the notion that her ethnicity and gender would have any influence upon her work as a judge. This is certainly a topic that Senator Sessions has already signaled that Judge Sotomayor will be questioned about closely during the hearings.

Yet who among us can honestly say that our life experiences—including gender, ethnicity, where and how we grew up, and what jobs we have held—don’t influence the lens through which we see the world?  And more importantly, why would we expect, or even want, judges to be any different? Of course, we want judges to decide cases without any preconceived biases and to really listen to the facts and then make their decisions based on their interpretation of the law and precedent.  But if having been a young woman in school affects your view of whether it is unconstitutional to strip search a 13-year-old girl to look for prescription strength ibuprofen, as Justice Ginsburg recently acknowledged, isn’t that a benefit rather than a loss?  Justice Alito certainly seemed to think so when he stated the following at his confirmation hearing: “[W]hen a case comes before me involving, let’s say, someone who is an immigrant . . . I can’t help but think of my own ancestors, because it wasn’t that long ago when they were in that position. [...]  And that goes down the line. When I get a case about discrimination, I have to think about people in my own family who suffered discrimination because of their ethnic background or because of religion or because of gender. And I do take that into account.” 

Read more... Add new comment