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March 9, 2011

"Sotomayor emerges as force in criminal cases"

The title of this post is the headline of a new piece by Marcia Coyle via the Supreme Court Insider at The National Law Journal.  Here is how the piece starts:

If there were any doubts that Justice Sonia Sotomayor would have a voice to be heeded, particularly in criminal justice matters, her most recent opinions have conquered them.

"She is emerging as a force on the Court," said white-collar defense litigator Timothy O'Toole, a partner at Miller & Chevalier.  "She has important views and strong views, and they tend to be as liberal as the justice she replaced, but there are some places where she is to the right of Justice [David] Souter." 

It would be difficult, he added, to walk away from the two decisions that she issued on Feb. 28 and March 2 "and not realize she is becoming a voice of importance and influence."  The two decisions were Michigan v. Bryant and Pepper v. U.S., the former involving the confrontation clause and the latter, the role of rehabilitation in resentencing proceedings.

March 9, 2011 at 04:12 PM | Permalink


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I don't even have a subscription, but in the free preview of the article alone I see two mistakes:

1) Justice Ginsburg dissented, but she did not join Justice Scalia's dissent.

2)Justice Sotomayor did not and could not win Justice Thomas over in Michigan v. Bryant any more than a porcupine could. This is not the kind of case Justice Thomas is wavery on in his jurisprudence. Justice Thomas's past dissents and concurrences in this area already made clear that he requires very formal types of statements to qualify as testemonial, and no on-site interrogations would ever qualify as testimonial in Justice Thomas's book.

Posted by: Jacob Berlove | Mar 9, 2011 6:43:14 PM

Sotomayor is a force only because she commands one vote on SCOTUS. Whether you agree or not with the result in Bryant, the opinion is laughably bad.

Posted by: federalist | Mar 9, 2011 8:14:35 PM

All whites are guilty. All dark skinned criminals are innocent.

If you liked the functioning of the criminal law in the South Bronx, you will love what she will do to the entire nation.

I saw her picture under the definitions of both, the vile feminist lawyer, and the lawyer dumbass.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Mar 10, 2011 12:40:53 AM

I believe Sotomayor's opinion in Bryant could potentially pave the way to a considerable expansion of the Quarles exception to Miranda, and a de facto overruling of Dickerson. My reasoning is set forth on Crime & Consequences, in this entry:


Posted by: Bill Otis | Mar 10, 2011 12:12:39 PM

Supremacy Claus---knock off the "vile feminist lawyer" crap. I've raised this issue with Doug before; your comments are offensive to women lawyers who visit this site. If you have a substantive point to make it, please do. Your sexist rants directed at many of the readers of this blog are void of content but subject us to same kinds of the comments many of us have fought during long and honorable careers in law.

Posted by: female lawyer | Mar 10, 2011 5:26:59 PM

Dear female lawyer:

I pray that you have had a long and industrious career on the defense side, so we can again be a solvent country

I understand that you don't like SC's comments about the vile feminist lawyer. However, you would have to agree that Catherine McKinnon's philosophy is truly a work of art. However, SC is trying to demonstrate how Congress's current political method of proscribing new laws flies in the face of the Constitution. They are doing it for "Soccer Moms", (with whom I have much experience). If I were a Soccer Mom, I would bite the Head off of anyone who harmed my children. However, we are subscribing to a fascist mentality when we concur with what Adolph Hitler quite explicitly understood:

A people will accept any deprivation of liberty, if they are believed to be in the interests of the child. (non-verbatim)

That works for say 5 years, an election cycle and then who knows? Your "child" becomes an enemy of the state.

Posted by: albeed | Mar 11, 2011 12:37:33 AM

female lawyer - I've often wondered whether Doug would tolerate SC's ravings if he constantly referred to the "vile Jewish lawyer" or the "vile dark-skinned lawyer." I tend to doubt it.

Posted by: another female lawyer | Mar 11, 2011 2:58:32 PM

albeed: SC frequently uses the term :vile feminist lawyer", he means nothing by it other than to insult and demean women attorneys who have worked form many years to overcome the kind of vile crap SC spews here. Your attempt at adding content to his derisive name-calling is not even admirable. It's insulting to women lawyers that our male counterparts are not calling SC out.

another female lawyer--excellent point. I will say I rarely come to this site any more because Doug does not/will not put a stop to SC's use of that phrase. Another male attorney counterpart who won't stand up to SC.

Posted by: female lawyer | Mar 11, 2011 10:04:16 PM

I continue to be saddened and troubled that female lawyer and another female lawyer take SC's misogynistic rants seriously enough to be offended. I have never understood what makes SC tick and what leads him to spew such vitriol. I do not "tolerate" it, but rather lack the time and energy to review all the blog comments and simply hope (1) that SC realize the harm he produces with his crude name-calling and (2) that others know I sincerely wish he would not make the comments a hostile environment for other readers.

I fear that SC has no concern as to the feelings of others, and thus I doubt a request by me and others for SC to cut the crap will do much good. But I do think it is useful to know that some folks continue to hold and espouse ugly opinions about women.

Posted by: Doug B. | Mar 12, 2011 2:51:17 AM

So, Doug, would you really not ban SC from the blog if he repeatedly referred to the "vile Jewish lawyer" or the "vile dark-skinned lawyer?" Would you simply be saddened and troubled that someone might take anti-Semitic or racist rants seriously enough to be offended? And find it useful to know that some folks continue to hold and espouse ugly opinions about Jews and dark-skined people? The only time it would take to correct the problem would be to ban SC from the blog.

Posted by: another female lawyer | Mar 14, 2011 12:06:23 PM

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