September 9, 2016

"My favorite view was looking at Nino making faces. I try not to emulate him, but, I must say, it was fun to watch."

"Or the big smile that would come before he was going to lay into a lawyer."

Said Justice Sonia Sotomayor, speaking at the University of Wisconsin yesterday. She said Justice Scalia's death left "a big hole in the court."

I chose not to attend. Why? Because there were limited tickets available, and I wanted to allow one more person to have the opportunity to experience something that might be very exciting and inspiring for them.

ADDED: From the AP report:
She said her experiences as a Hispanic and a woman are only pieces of her thinking when she considers cases. She said she considers herself a human being first and "there isn't one piece of me that takes control in judicial decision-making."

She lamented that people see the court as a mystery, saying that if they understood that the justices are human beings with experiences and backgrounds and a passion for the law it would help change the perception of the court as a "distant and unknowable institution."
Here's the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel report. And here's the Badger Herald:
Sotomayor said she has always tried to be a “citizen lawyer” and understand that someone’s win is also someone else’s loss.

“Never forget that justice has a price,” Sotomayor said. “Whenever you’re happy about one of the outcomes think about the other side.”

64 comments:

David Begley said...

That was a kind and thoughtful thing you did Ann. I'm sure the students enjoyed it. Exciting.

Curious George said...

"'I'm A Justice, But Also A Human,'

Realy? THis tells me you're an idiot.

Curious George said...

She, like all liberals, is very dangerous. It's is not about the law. It is about fairness. And outcomes. And the color of your skin.

Justice should not be wise. It should be blind.

Hagar said...

"Feel good justice"? This from a Supreme Court Justice?

Ann Althouse said...

"That was a kind and thoughtful thing you did Ann."

It was selfish too. I don't like sitting passively and feel trapped in an audience. I've seen many speakers in person, and I know when I was young, being in the presence of someone important/famous/charismatic could have an emotional impact on me that I'm almost sure will not happen, and I also don't want to have an emotional connection to people who are important because of their position of power. I like my distance.

Ann Althouse said...

@Curious George

You're so wrong on so many levels.

Ann Althouse said...

I'm glad the law school brings in significant speakers for big lectures like this one. It's something I strongly support for the students.

campy said...

Next time she visits, failure to pay homage to the Wise Latina may be a punishable offense.

Mick said...

Oh, the "Wise Latina" La Raza Marxist appointed by the illegal Usurper Hussein Obama? Yeah I'm sure she is super qualified and "smart", especially w/ regard to freedom and liberty/. Does she know that the exposition of the treason committed in allowing the foreign Usurper Hussein Obama into OUR house voids her appointment to the Supreme Court? Is that why Sheriff Arpaio is on the campaign trail w/ Trump. Trump knows that Hussein Obama is a Usurper, that the "birth Certificate" is a forgery, and that No One from Columbia U. knows or even remembers Hussein Obama being there. He will prosecute the case against the Usurper while in office (by a LANDSLIDE). Trump knows the damage that the usurper has wrought, and that is his main motivation.

Mick said...

Ann Althouse said...
"I'm glad the law school brings in significant speakers for big lectures like this one. It's something I strongly support for the students."


She's a fraud, appointed by a USURPER.

Curious George said...

"Ann Althouse said...
@Curious George

You're so wrong on so many levels."

That's a powerful argument. I think we should start taking the blindfolds off all those Lady Justice statues stat!

TreeJoe said...

I agree with Curious George Ann (though I haven't spent my life dedicated to law in the way you have)...

Justice should weigh the case, the merits, and the outcomes - but should be blind to "sides". Justice could hurt both sides, because it's justice. Not not balanced, not proportional - just.

I've been impressed with the few Sotomayor writings I've read that were not in heavily politicized cases. But in heavily politicized cases, I think she imbues her decisions with more "I'm a human with experiences" and less with "I'm an impartial jurist who is focused on applying the law equally to all."



David Begley said...

The big question is whether she got some ice cream over at the Memorial Union Terrace. Probably not. The burden of semi-fame.

Curious George said...

"TreeJoe said...
I agree with Curious George Ann (though I haven't spent my life dedicated to law in the way you have)..."

You don't need to Joe. It's pretty simple. You follow the law. Ore you don't.

What is there about these quotes that indicates that?:

"She said her experiences as a Hispanic and a woman are only pieces of her thinking when she considers cases. She said she considers herself a human being first and "there isn't one piece of me that takes control in judicial decision-making."

"Sotomayor said she has always tried to be a “citizen lawyer” and understand that someone’s win is also someone else’s loss.

“Never forget that justice has a price,” Sotomayor said. “Whenever you’re happy about one of the outcomes think about the other side.”

They don't. That's why you get this simple declarative "You're wrong" responses from a law professor. Weaksauce.

traditionalguy said...

The law is harsh to the loser. And winners pay their own attorney's fees in most cases. The Law does give a peace by making its Judgement final, so life can go on to something else.

But knowing the Judge is listening to your case helps. Just having been heard with respect and care makes the harsh outcomes easier to accept.

Speaking of accepting outcomes, belief that a Judge is favoring the other side for outside connections to a group that you are excluded from can make the outcome not be accepted by the losing side. Then there will be no peace because of a bought off corrupt judge.

rhhardin said...

The human touch in Obamacare worked out well.

AprilApple said...

I'll bet the Clinton Crime family had something to do with Scalia's death.

David Begley said...

Sonia's appearance only should highlight and reinforce a Badger's decision to vote Trump. Hillary will pick her Supreme Court Justices from the usual Harvard and Yale crew. Trump has released a truly diverse group of potential SCOTUS nominees. A Wisconsin Law grad would NEVER be appointed by a President Hillary. You flyover lawyers don't count. Not her kind of person. You don't have the right stuff. Only Harvard and Yale count.

traditionalguy said...

FTR: I like Sotomayor very much. She seems to be a fair and intelligent Justice. It's not her fault that Obama appointed her thinking she would be another liberal vote and also to influence Hispanic voters. She is still a good Justice and will block Sharia Conquest Law with the best of them.

Bob Ellison said...

Live performance is always inferior to studio work. People love live performance, like professors talking at the podium, because they want to be part of the entertainment. It's a fantasy.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Curious George-

I do think life experience is useful in areas requiring judgement. For example, the prohibition against unreasonable searches requires a human judgement about what is reasonable. Growing up in a poor community where some people are living in their cars can certainly change how one judges the reasonableness of the search of a car.

However, in general I agree with you. There is far too much weight given to the judge's concept of fairness and far to little given to applying the law/constitution as written.

Curious George said...

I is B:

Come on dude, there isn't one judge including the Wise Latina that grew up in such a neighborhood.

Sebastian said...

"She lamented that people see the court as a mystery" Huh? What mystery? Sure, no one can quite predict the artful rationalizations Tony and Johnny will come up with to bless the next prog idiocy, but otherwise the court, ad the lefties in particular, is utterly predictable on all the big issues.

@CG: "She, like all liberals, is very dangerous." This is right on so many levels, including the little provocation that exposes cruel legal neutrality for what it actually is.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Curious George said...

Come on dude, there isn't one judge including the Wise Latina that grew up in such a neighborhood.

While none probably lived in such a neighborhood, Thomas certainly grew up around that level of poverty, at least in his early years.

But my point was not about a specific situation, just about the general idea that life experiences can effect judgement in ways that are valid and valuable.

jacksonjay said...

Nino? What the Hell? What grade is she in?

Does Sonnie receive a speaking fee? How much? It obviously doesn't rival a totally ethical Clinton speaking fee. Moonlighting on summer vacay? Notorious RBG recommended the South African constitution to the Egyptians instead of Madison's masterpiece. So I guess this "citizen lawyer" comment ain't so bad by comparison.

Curious George said...

"Ignorance is Bliss said...
But my point was not about a specific situation, just about the general idea that life experiences can effect judgement in ways that are valid and valuable."

And not valid and not valuable.

See my point? There are no constraints once you decide the law isn't the law. Then a fine can be a tax. Or abortion can be a right. Or eminent domain can mean "get more tax revenue."

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Curious George said...

And not valid and not valuable.
See my point? There are no constraints once you decide the law isn't the law.


No. And you clearly didn't see mine. Even once you agree that the law is the law, that doesn't answer what makes a certain category of searches unreasonable. That is a decision that requires human judgement, and it is valuable to get different perspectives on what is reasonable, while following both the letter and the spirit of the law.

William said...

There's nothing objectionable to what she said, and much that is wise and decent......I wish I was judged on all the wise and decent things I have said in my life instead of that regrettable incident with the chainsaw at the daycare center......The chainsaw incident was peripheral to who I really am. The only fair way to judge me is by my wise and decent utterances.

EMD said...

Interested people on both sides of issues want the court to be this set of vengeful, nasty fellows constantly at each others' throats. I welcome the fact that people of such varying backgrounds and beliefs can get along so well.

Almost like a country I know (for the most part.)

She probably referred to Scalia as "Nino" because they probably liked one another and got along. Astounding.

jacksonjay said...

Curious George "destroyed " by Althouse!

Curious George said...

"Ignorance is Bliss said...
Curious George said...

And not valid and not valuable.
See my point? There are no constraints once you decide the law isn't the law.

No. And you clearly didn't see mine. "

Because you have provided one example that makes no sense. Not one judge has the life experience you cited. Which kinda proves the point that it isn't necessary to determine what is "reasonable". The courts have made many decisions on it not based on being poor. Or Mexican. Or a woman.

tim maguire said...

I've heard some stories about Sotomayor that lead me to like her very much as a person. As a Supreme Court Justice, I don't trust her to understand and embrace the limitations of her role--she is not an elected legislator, it is not her job to determine what the law should be, only what it is.

Nevertheless, Ignorance raises a valid point about times when subjective determinations are unavoidable and appropriate. The constitution forbids unreasonable searches and seizures, it does not spell out what is meant by "unreasonable." It is a term on whose meaning reasonable people can disagree, and those reasonable opinions will undoubtedly be informed by life experience, not merely philosophical musings in a vacuum.

buwaya puti said...

It is a powerful thing for a kid, having a great personage speaking in real life.
I still remember a talk by Edward Teller 40+ years ago. It felt like a great privilege. No small influence in outlook either.

Birkel said...

Scalia ruled that the First Amendment freedom of religion did not protect corporations when the owners wished to project a religious opinion through the business. Many people would say that decision was cast against type.

Quick, somebody cite an opinion of Sotomayor that could not be parroted easily by a Leftist judge bot.

I Callahan said...

The constitution forbids unreasonable searches and seizures, it does not spell out what is meant by "unreasonable." It is a term on whose meaning reasonable people can disagree, and those reasonable opinions will undoubtedly be informed by life experience, not merely philosophical musings in a vacuum.

Therein lies the paradox. How can "reasonable" people agree or disagree on what's "reasonable"?

Curious George said...

"tim maguire said...
Nevertheless, Ignorance raises a valid point about times when subjective determinations are unavoidable and appropriate. The constitution forbids unreasonable searches and seizures, it does not spell out what is meant by "unreasonable." It is a term on whose meaning reasonable people can disagree, and those reasonable opinions will undoubtedly be informed by life experience, not merely philosophical musings in a vacuum."

Really? What life experience was used by any justice determining what a reasonable search was. GIve me any SCOTUS decision based on "life experience"...well other than a life learning the law.

Birkel said...

Amongst all the experts here, surely one of you will find a case in which the self-appointed "wise latina" has voted in a way that would surprise. Surely there is one vote that is obviously wise yet against the Liberal type.

Obama may as well have appointed a Liberal Judge Bot(™) instead of a human.

Birkel said...

Curious George,

Olmstead was bad "life experience" and Katz was good "life experience". Or vice versa, depending on your preference.

If you know what the results should be (according to collectivists) this game is really quite simple.

William said...

I just retread the Althouse entry. Sotomayor says that Scalia made faces at and tore into the lawyers that appeared before the court. She, however, made the effort to appear impassive and tried to be considerate of their feelings. The important takeaway from all this is that she is a better person and a wiser judge than Scalia.

Skipper said...

What she doesn't admit is she's a politically connected Democrat lawyer in a black robe.

readering said...

Interesting about sotomayor and Thomas. Although both graduated from Yale, they are different from other justices in not starting out with dazzling clerkships/professiorships/doj jobs. I always thought miers would have been a good choice for same reason, but she lacked ivy league credential to protect her from attacks on her smarts.

walter said...

“Whenever you’re happy about one of the outcomes think about the other side.”
--
As long as you are upholding not rewriting the law, not to be concerned with this.

walter said...

By the way, does UW make the cost of bringing in speakers public?
Hey..I remember seeing Farrakhan and the Fruit at an outdoor venue..can't remember if it was Camp Randall. Wished I had brought a lighter and money for merch. But I do remember the Fruit-y security all over the stands. One watching every move as I took notes.

jacksonjay said...

buwaya said:
It is a powerful thing for a kid, having a great personage speaking in real life.

I relate two experiences. I chaperoned a group of middle school students to a talk by Stephen Hawkin at SMU. Fought traffic for more than an hour, herded middle schoolers into the auditorium, rode herd until he made his appearance. He was on stage for about 5 minutes, took maybe three questions, and at least one answer was of the "you're too stupid to understand the answer" variety. Not a good experience.

Similar incident with Rosa Parks. Her family appeared to be cashing in on her fame before she died. Students were charged $6 to attend and she was barely coherent. They propped her up at center stage and she mumbled some answers. How sad! Several of these student told me they felt like they were ripped-off.

Birkel said...

Amongst all the experts here, surely one of you will find a case in which the self-appointed "wise latina" has voted in a way that would surprise. Surely there is one vote that is obviously wise yet against the Liberal type.

Obama may as well have appointed a Liberal Judge Bot(™) instead of a human.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Ann Althouse said...It was selfish too. I don't like sitting passively and feel trapped in an audience

But you go to plays frequently, don't you Professor? Do you not feel trapped there/then? What accounts for the difference, if any?

Do you try to structure your own classes/lectures in a way that is helpful for people who might feel the same way about being "stuck" in that situation as you might, and if so how? Does the fact that there's some "audience" participation in most lectures solve that problem? Did you always feel this way--say when you were in law school yourself?

walter said...

Ok..costs are borne by whatever organization hosts the speaker, in this case UW law school.

walter said...

Maybe this will be on ewe toob.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

She said her experiences as a Hispanic and a woman are only pieces of her thinking when she considers cases. She said she considers herself a human being first and "there isn't one piece of me that takes control in judicial decision-making."

Attacking a strawman (strawperson?) and deliberately obscuring her own earlier assertions. No one argues that she judges cases ONLY as a woman/Hispanic, but she herself argued that AS an Hispanic woman she would reach a BETTER decision...so she's obviously asserting that those "parts" of her are important and potentially decisive. It's silly to now try and go back on that by pretending people who find that assertion troubling are really making some other argument (that is, no one is saying she's not human, but she herself has argued that she has characteristics that set her apart and make her come to different conclusions, so she can't now pretend that's not the case/she didn't argue that).

“Never forget that justice has a price,” Sotomayor said. “Whenever you’re happy about one of the outcomes think about the other side.”
I mean, that's nice to hear...but is that sentiment reflected or upheld in the actual decisions the Court hands down?

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Sorry, sorry; Latina, not Hispanic. Sincere gringo apologies, sorry.

Birkel said...

Amongst all the experts here, surely one of you will find a case in which the self-appointed "wise latina" has voted in a way that would surprise. Surely there is one vote that is obviously wise yet against the collectivist** type.

Obama may as well have appointed a Liberal Judge Bot(™) instead of a human.

Prove me wrong, anybody.

**updated for accuracy

tim maguire said...

Curious George said...What life experience was used by any justice determining what a reasonable search was. GIve me any SCOTUS decision based on "life experience"...well other than a life learning the law.

All of them. To doubt that is to not know how the human mind works.

Curious George said...

"Birkel said...
Curious George,

Olmstead was bad "life experience" and Katz was good "life experience". Or vice versa, depending on your preference.

If you know what the results should be (according to collectivists) this game is really quite simple."

Maybe you are being facetious but I see nothing in those cases that relate to life experiences of a judge or judges.

Curious George said...

"tim maguire said...
Curious George said...What life experience was used by any justice determining what a reasonable search was. GIve me any SCOTUS decision based on "life experience"...well other than a life learning the law.

All of them. To doubt that is to not know how the human mind works."

So pick one and connect the dots their Dr. Freud.

Birkel said...

Curious George:

In Olmstead, the justices were using their life experiences to intuit that criminals should be caught and punished, so allowing the state to listen to private conversations of known criminals was allowed without a warrant.

In Katz, the justices were using their life experiences to intuit the state should be restrained by the requirement of a warrant to listen to private conversations of known criminals, because the state had become too powerful not to be so constrained.

This game is easy. Now get busy defining the terms of the debate or surrender.

Curious George said...

"Birkel said...
Curious George:

In Olmstead, the justices were using their life experiences to intuit that criminals should be caught and punished, so allowing the state to listen to private conversations of known criminals was allowed without a warrant.

In Katz, the justices were using their life experiences to intuit the state should be restrained by the requirement of a warrant to listen to private conversations of known criminals, because the state had become too powerful not to be so constrained.

This game is easy. Now get busy defining the terms of the debate or surrender."

No you are missing the point, as is Tim Maguire. What I is B was talking about was how the case applied to a judge personally. None of the judges were known criminals in the Olmstead case, nor were any of the judges bookies for the Katz case.

Birkel said...

Oh, I see what you mean, Curious George.
You mean the statement about being a "wise latina" was bull shit unless the case involved a wise latina litigant. How very narrow minded of you.

You're not trying very hard and I'm disappointed. Do try harder or I will grow bored.

readering said...

This case involves a suspicionless stop, one in which the
officer initiated this chain of events without justification.
As the Justice Department notes, supra, at 8, many innocent
people are subjected to the humiliations of these
unconstitutional searches. The white defendant in this
case shows that anyone’s dignity can be violated in this
manner. See M. Gottschalk, Caught 119–138 (2015). But
it is no secret that people of color are disproportionate
victims of this type of scrutiny. See M. Alexander, The
New Jim Crow 95–136 (2010). For generations, black and
brown parents have given their children “the talk”—
instructing them never to run down the street; always
keep your hands where they can be seen; do not even
think of talking back to a stranger—all out of fear of how
an officer with a gun will react to them. See, e.g., W. E. B.
Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk (1903); J. Baldwin, The
Fire Next Time (1963); T. Coates, Between the World and
Me (2015).
By legitimizing the conduct that produces this double
consciousness, this case tells everyone, white and black,
guilty and innocent, that an officer can verify your legal
status at any time. It says that your body is subject to
invasion while courts excuse the violation of your rights.
It implies that you are not a citizen of a democracy but the
subject of a carceral state, just waiting to be cataloged.
We must not pretend that the countless people who are
routinely targeted by police are “isolated.” They are the
canaries in the coal mine whose deaths, civil and literal,
warn us that no one can breathe in this atmosphere. See
L. Guinier & G. Torres, The Miner’s Canary 274–283
(2002). They are the ones who recognize that unlawful
police stops corrode all our civil liberties and threaten all
our lives. Until their voices matter too, our justice system
will continue to be anything but.

UTAH v. STRIEFF
SOTOMAYOR, J., dissenting

Birkel said...

readering:

So you produced a dissent that proves a Liberal Judge Bot(™) would write exactly what Sotomayor did.
Are you trying?

HoodlumDoodlum said...

In the dissent that you posted, readering, do you discern evidence of Justice Sotomayor thinking about "the other side?"

What if instead of only asserting that police officers routinely "target" people she said something like "although most stops by police officers are legitimate, we do those good officers a disservice when we fail to prevent or punish illegitimate stops since those improper actions taint and serve to discredit all law enforcement."

Nothing like that in there, though--just a pretty stark delineation of good vs. bad, with the police on the bad side. Had Sotomayor "won," the police would have been on the "other side," right? So, again: she's stated that we should keep the "other side" in mind...do you see evidence that she does that?

rehajm said...

The human touch in Obamacare worked out well.

This is snarky but entirely relevant to her statement. Who did she believe was going to win with her decision? Is she completely clueless of economics or did she weigh the decade worth of harm she was about to inflict on our nation and say eff it?

readering said...

I just picked that portion of a much longer dissent because no other Justice joined in it (although the other female justices were the other dissenters from the majority, in which all the males, Democrat and Republican, joined). I thought that's what this was about. Read the case, which happens to be from the most recent term.

mikee said...

There are two sides in every court case, but oddly enough the adversarial system was designed not to make things fair for all, but rather to determine which one of the two sides is correct under the law.

There is a loser in every court case, yes, but that is because one side is always wrong under the law. The loser of a court case deserves no fairness, because what they were after was justice, i.e., a court ruling.

Birkel said...

readering:

So Liberal Judge Bot(™) would write what?