May 26th, 2009
02:10 PM ET
6 years ago

Sotomayor SCOTUS case history: New Haven firefighters

WASHINGTON (CNN) - During Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor's 17 years as a federal judge, the U.S. Supreme Court has reviewed her decisions on at least eight occasions. CNN has reviewed those cases and has summarized each in a series of posts. The names and citations reflect the cases as they were known when they first came before Sotomayor.

Ricci v. DeStefano (2008), 530 F.3d 87: Sotomayor was part of a three-judge panel that ruled in February 2008 to uphold a lower court decision supporting the City of New Haven's decision to throw out the results of an exam to determine promotions within the city's fire department. Only one Hispanic and no African-American firefighters qualified for promotion based on the exam; the City subsequently decided not to certify the results and issued no promotions. In June 2008, Sotomayor was part of a 7-6 majority to deny a rehearing of the case by the full court. The Supreme Court agreed to review the case and heard oral arguments in April 2009.


Filed under: Sonia Sotomayor • Supreme Court
soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. Jon in CA

    Sotomayer has STRUCK OUT in all of her legal opinions that were reviewed by the Supreme Court.

    But because she's a hispanic woman – we're supposed to say how GREAT this nominee is??

    Obama is the worst President ever.

    May 26, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  2. Clinton Voter

    Sounds like your typical activist legislate-from-the-bench liberal judge. The Harriet Meyers of the Left. Hillary would never have made such a naive and inexperienced choice. This is what happens when affirmative action rulings come back to haunt the U.S. Supreme Court. I hope there will be an America left when Barry is ousted in 2012.

    ***Palin/Plumber '12!!***

    May 26, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  3. Tim

    And in the meantime, the Pentagon has acknowledged that 14% of released Gitmo detainees, those very detainees who were deemed the least risky to release amongst all detainees held at Gitmo, returned to the battlefield after their release.

    But don't worry, Obama has a plan.

    May 26, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  4. Shane Rose

    For all of the early, and predictable, outcry from Conservatives over Judge Sotomayor's nomination as a "liberal, activist" judge, they should take heart in the Ricci v. DeStafano ruling.

    In this case, she merely upheld the City's decision. This is not activism, this is judicial restraint. It may be liberal, but not activist. The court merely allowed the city to set it's own policies.

    Of course, this is not what prominent Republicans will say. But lets not let facts get in the way of a good fight, right?

    May 26, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  5. fella from Chicago

    Unfortunately, the good judge wants to create policy and law, not interpret current law and the Constitution. I think this is wrong and will damage the country over the long haul, but what the hey; to the victors belong the spoils and Obama and the Dems are the victors.

    May 26, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  6. johnny the boy

    Par for the liberals; if you can't pass the exam; just toss the results.

    May 26, 2009 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  7. jrzshor

    her legal thinking in the new haven ruling should scare us all!

    May 26, 2009 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  8. Elliebee

    Great move by our President. A hispanic woman is long overdue on the Supreme Court. We need more diversity to reflect ALL people in America, equally and justly.

    May 26, 2009 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  9. ken

    This is scary. She cares more about race than qualifications.

    May 26, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  10. Boudin

    Another affirmative action affliction

    May 26, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  11. Just My Opinion in Texas

    8 cases before SCOTUS ... 6 opinions sent back for reconsideration (SCOTUS speak for "Nice try but try again.") .... 1 legal opinion upheld but legal reasoning blasted by the Court ... and 1 more opinion under the legal microscope.

    Her batting average really bytes and she is the BEST the current Administration can come up with???

    May 26, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  12. gt

    whats wrong with not letting people who are most qualified not get the promotion or job,,,,,they do it all the time ....in cuba ,,,,

    May 26, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  13. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    @ Jon in CA

    So Harriet Myers was a good pick, huh?

    May 26, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  14. TCM

    Ok...so in the case cited...so minorities could score high enough to get promoted, so let's be racist and not promote the whites either....especially when ALL had EQUAL opportunity to succeed...now, there's a good judge for you, totally unbiased!

    May 26, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  15. Greg Smith, Clifton Heights PA

    I second that, Obama is the worst President ever, in four years he will be history, gone.

    May 26, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  16. Common Sense

    This situation with the firefighters decision is just wrong. People should be promoted based on merit not based on how they look.

    May 26, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  17. ghost

    This has nothing to do with AA. This has to do with whether or not the tests were fair. And whether or not the city had the right to throw out the tests. As it stands, NO ONE was promoted. If they had promoted minorities instead of the white firefighters, then they would have a slam dunk case.

    If anything, the lower courts should've ruled on this. Her court only ruled with the lower court. Your anger should be directed at the city and the lower court. Higher courts don't like to overturn lower courts rulings without sufficient reason.

    May 26, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  18. Ken in NC

    The President is Dammed for one decision and had he made another decision he would be dammed for that. He just can't win. Now Republicans that voted to confirm her nomination when G.H.W. Bush nominated her and again when Bill Clinton nominated her are saying they will give her a "FAIR HEARING" Watch out for a Republican bearing offers of a '"FAIR HEARING".

    There are those that claim she will not be the first Hispanic on the Supreme Court but she will. They claim that Justice Benjamin Cardozo was Hispanic when, in fact, he was born of Jewish parentage. His great-great-grandfather Aaron Nunez Cardozo emigrated from London in the 18th century so he is not Hispanic.

    May 26, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  19. Proud Member..Party of No

    Dumbocrats believe that picking the best person available is over-rated, whether that be for firefighters, Supreme Court Justices or President of the United States, as long as it's politically correct and it makes them feel warm inside.

    Obama--Worst President Ever.

    May 26, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  20. Schell in PA

    She's Second Circuit, which automatically says "liberal". On the other hand, she wrote a few very interesting not-so-liberal decisions including one upholding the constitutionality of Bush's global gag rule, aka the Mexico City Policy. I haven't decided yet if I like her, but she definitely has a much more rich and varied career than one case decided on precedent.

    May 26, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  21. Fed Up

    Lady Justice is blindfolded. Justice Sotomayor is anything but. God help us all.

    May 26, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  22. lousy

    liberal just screwing majority all the time until nothing left

    May 26, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  23. lousy

    cnn juts care about liberal sucms comment we dont need media bias liberal because messiah have own show

    May 26, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |