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Second Federal Circuit Justice Sonya Sotomayor (Yale/Princeton) is the President’s nominee to replace retiring Justice David Souter.  At first impression, she appears to be a typical liberal nominee, probably one who will vote very much like the justice she is to replace, if she is confirmed.


I believe that she will be forced to recuse herself from a pending Supreme Court case in which she participated in her Second Circuit role.  That case arose from an affirmative action promotional dispute in Connecticut.  The city threw out a race-neutral competitive examination. 


Here is today’s Associated Press account:

In one of her most notable decisions, as an appellate judge she sided last year with the city of New Haven, Conn., in a discrimination case brought by white firefighters. The city threw out results of a promotion exam because too few minorities scored high enough. Coincidentally, that case is now before the Supreme Court. That ruling has already drawn criticism from conservatives, and is likely to play a role in her confirmation hearing.”

It is not my impression that Justice Sotomayor’s presence on the court will change much, although the record has a number of blanks, particularly on the hot button issue of pro-life vs. pro-choice.  The record will stay blank.  Like other nominees before her, she will not have to answer the “How will you rule?’ class of cases.

So far I don’t notice sufficient baggage that could generate a republican filibuster.  If you are betting, bet on confirmation.  The votes are already lined up and the GOP senators don’t have the stomach for a battle.