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  1. #1
    Senior Member AirborneSapper7's Avatar
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    May 2007
    South West Florida (Behind friendly lines but still in Occupied Territory)

    Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor protests court's refusal of

    Sotomayor protests court's refusal of appeals

    Updated 22h 19m ago
    By H. Darr Beiser, USA TODAY

    Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor has signed four dissents over rejected appeals and was lead author on three such dissents.

    WASHINGTON — Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor has set herself apart from colleagues with her fervent statements protesting the majority's refusal to take some appeals, particularly involving prisoners.

    Each month, the justices spurn hundreds of petitions from people who have lost in lower courts, and rarely does an individual justice go public with concern about the denial. In the seven times it has happened since the annual term opened in October, Justice Sotomayor has signed four of the opinions, more than any other justice. She was the lead author on three, again more than any other justice.

    She forcefully dissented when the justices refused to hear the appeal of a Louisiana prisoner who claimed he was punished for not taking his HIV medication. He said prison officials subjected him to hard labor in 100-degree heat. Writing alone, she said the inmate had a persuasive claim of cruel and unusual punishment.

    This emerging pattern of dissenting statements helps define a justice in her second term who is still — like newest justice Elena Kagan— fresh in the public eye.

    SUPREME COURT: Seven cases show differences among justices

    On the law, Sotomayor has been in the liberal mold of her predecessor, David Souter, and her approach to writing opinions on cases heard has been fact-specific and free of rhetorical flourish. That was her style as a trial judge (1992-98 ) and appeals court judge (1998-2009).

    Yet she has stood out as one of the most demanding questioners during oral arguments. She often breaks in as a fellow justice is questioning a lawyer, although she is not alone. Antonin Scalia also has an aggressive approach.

    Her tendency to protest when the justices pass up a case she believes is crucial may be another way of getting her voice heard.

    Adam Abensohn, a law clerk to Sotomayor earlier in her career, said of the recent dissents, "If she has a viewpoint, she won't hesitate to assert herself. If she thinks it's a good idea to do something, she's not going to hold back simply because 'it's not the way things are done' or because she's relatively new."

    Abensohn, who practices law in New York, said that although such dissenting opinions have no immediate legal consequence, they "may plant the seeds for the court to address an issue down the road. ... In a sense, Justice Sotomayor is placing her stamp on issues that may be decided years from now."

    Dissents can change colleagues' minds — if not then, later. In February 2009, Scalia protested that the court repeatedly rejected appeals involving an open-ended U.S. law making it a crime for officials to deprive citizens of their right to "honest services." Dissenting alone in one of these disputes, Scalia noted lower courts disagreed on what offenses were covered and declared, "It seems ... quite irresponsible to let the current chaos prevail."

    A few months later, the court took up the issue and ultimately ruled in a way that narrowed the law to bribes and kickbacks.

    Sotomayor has been most vocal in criminal law cases. In the appeal from the Louisiana prisoner, she wrote that his decision to refuse medication "does not give prison officials license to exacerbate (his) condition further as a means of punishing or coercing him."

    In another case, she objected when the justices declined to take a petition from an Arkansas murderer who said jurors should have heard mitigating evidence of his brutal childhood before deciding on a death sentence. She was troubled by an appeals court's decision letting officials wait to object to a claim for a new hearing until they had heard the prisoner's evidence and he had prevailed at an early stage.

    Sotomayor said states should not be allowed "to manipulate federal ... proceedings to their own strategic advantage at an unacceptable cost to justice." She was joined only by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. It takes four votes among the nine for the high court to take a case; it then takes five votes to resolve the case.

    Jonathan Kirshbaum, a senior lawyer at the non-profit Center for Appellate Litigation in New York, which represents indigent defendants, said he has been struck by how Sotomayor, a former prosecutor, has "come out so strongly for criminal defendants."

    Sotomayor declined to comment for this story.

    Justice Samuel Alito, also a former prosecutor, has been a close second this term in publicly objecting when the majority declines a case. He protested in three cases and authored the opinion in two. On criminal matters, he tends to favor law enforcement.

    When Sotomayor was appointed, some defendants' rights advocates, including Kirshbaum, speculated that she might take a hard line on prisoner appeals.

    He said she's adopting a much different approach. "There seems to be real feeling behind these opinions," he said. "They give the criminal defendant's perspective on these issues." ... titialskip
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  2. #2
    Senior Member stevetheroofer's Avatar
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    Sep 2010
    somewhere near Mexico I reckon!
    "And in step's George(Creepy dude)Soros and his one world prison planet!"
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  3. #3
    Senior Member tiredofapathy's Avatar
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    Apr 2007
    Central North Carolina
    "There seems to be real feeling behind these opinions," he said.

    That's the part I find most troubling. Liberals tend to respond with emotion when they should lead with logic and wisdom. That is not a desirable characteristic for any judge, and especially a Supreme.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Minneapolis MN
    How do we get rid of a Supreme Court Judge that is more set on legislating from the bench then interpration of the law?

    We can tell clearly that Sotomayor is not a Judge but a wanna be legislator. Wanting to accept an appeal because of a serial murderer having an abusive child hood.... he's a murderer clear and simple. Statute calls for the death penalty and having a crappy childhood is not a reason to let someone off.

    We already know she supports illegals and wants to further their "hispanic" illegal agenda.

    So what has to happen to remove her and others from bench who try and legislate?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Its a life time appointment, short of a murder charge, other serious allegation, or resignation...not much can be done.


  6. #6
    Senior Member tiredofapathy's Avatar
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    Apr 2007
    Central North Carolina
    Quote Originally Posted by kathyet
    Its a life time appointment, short of a murder charge, other serious allegation, or resignation...not much can be done.


    Under normal circumstances, a Supreme Court justice is awarded a lifetime commission.

    A Supreme Court Justice may be impeached by the House of Representatives and removed from office if convicted in a Senate trial, but only for the same types of offenses that would trigger impeachment proceedings for any other government official under Articles I and II of the Constitution.

    Article III, Section 1 states that judges of Article III courts shall hold their offices "during good behavior." "The phrase "good behavior" has been interpreted by the courts to equate to the same level of seriousness 'high crimes and misdemeanors" encompasses.

    In addition, any federal judge may be prosecuted in the criminal courts for criminal activity. If found guilty of a crime in a federal district court, the justice would face the same type of sentencing any other criminal defendant would. The district court could not remove him/her from the Bench. However, any justice found guilty in the criminal courts of any felony would certainly be impeached and, if found guilty, removed from office.

    In the United States, impeachment is most often used to remove corrupt lower-court federal judges from office, but it's not unusual to find disgruntled special interest groups circulating petitions on the internet calling for the impeachment of one or all members of the High Court.

    The Impeachment Process

    Impeachment is a two-step process; the impeachment phase is similar to a Grand Jury hearing, where charges (called "articles of impeachment") are presented and the House of Representatives determines whether the evidence is sufficient to warrant a trial. If the House vote passes by a simple majority, the defendant is "impeached," and proceeds to trial in the Senate.

    The House of Representatives indicts the accused on articles of impeachment, and, if impeached, the Senate conducts a trial to determine the party's guilt or innocence.

    The Senate trial, while analogous to a criminal trial, only convenes for the purpose of determining whether a Justice, the President (or another officeholder) should be removed from office on the basis of the evidence presented at impeachment.

    At the trial a committee from the House of Representatives, called "Managers," act as the prosecutors. Per constitutional mandate (Article I, Section 3), the Chief Justice of the United States (Supreme Court) must preside over the Senate trial of the President. If any other official is on trial, an "Impeachment Trial Committee" of Senators act as the presiding judges to hear testimony and evidence against the accused, which is then presented as a report to the remained of the Senate. The full Senate no longer participates in the hearing phase of the removal trial. This procedure came into practice in 1986 when the Senate amended its rules and procedures for impeachment and has been contested by several federal court judges, but the Supreme Court has declined to interfere in the process, calling the issue a political, not legal, matter.

    At the conclusion of the trial, the full Senate votes and must return a two-thirds Super Majority for conviction. Convicted officials are removed from office immediately and barred from holding future office. The Senate trial, while analogous to a criminal trial, only convenes for the purpose of determining whether a Justice, the President (or another officeholder) should be removed from office on the basis of the evidence presented at impeachment.

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