THE COURT GETS DOWN TO BUSINESS

When considering the appointment of Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court, our politicians and pundits were like cats watching the wrong mousehole. The "Big Issue" that drew all the attention was whether this obviously-qualified Latina from the Bronx might allow her own life experiences to affect her opinions on legal cases that come before her.

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THE COURT GETS DOWN TO BUSINESS
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When considering the appointment of Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court, our politicians and pundits were like cats watching the wrong mousehole. The “Big Issue” that drew all the attention was whether this obviously-qualified Latina from the Bronx might allow her own life experiences to affect her opinions on legal cases that come before her.

Well, gosh – OF COURSE SHE WILL! We’re all products of our life journeys, and Sotomayor’s thought process will obviously be affected by where she’s been. It’s the same with Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, who are guided (I would say misguided) by their treks through life.

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Meanwhile, as senators and the media pondered the obvious, a hugely-important area of judicial responsibility went unexplored: corporate power versus the rest of us. Most cases that come before the Supreme Court deal with the real-life matters of whether one corporation or another can stomp on workers, consumers, retirees, the environment, small business, shareholders, taxpayers, and anyone else who gets in their way. Yet, as one law professor asked right after the new judge was confirmed, “Who the heck knows how Justice Sotomayor will vote in any of these cases?”

We don’t know because the politicos and pundits failed even to peek into this mousehole. They also failed to pursue these essential issues of corporate power with the two people George W appointed to the court and the two appointed by Bill Clinton.

So, there you have five of the current nine Supreme Court justices who got their lifetime seats without even having to address the main business of the court. Is this a coincidence – or do the corporate interests (including the media and too many lawmakers) not want the public thinking about, much less affecting, the court’s corporate bias?

“Heavy Workload of Complex Cases Awaits New Justice,” The New York Times, August 7, 2009.

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