Sotomayor Rulings No Big Deal. Questionable ruling came in Constitutional Convention’s Shadow


sotomayor

Senate Judiciary Chairman Sen. Pat Leahy

Senate Judiciary Chairman Sen. Pat Leahy

The nomination process of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court hits Congress next week.   The Constitution says that presidential appointments to the bench must be done only with the advice and consent of the Senate.  I had raised the possibility of the GOP to be able to block the nomination through a procedure that would not get her nomination out of committee.  But, either I was wrong about the potential, the right person didn’t get onto the committee or the GOP decided that politically it wasn’t a winner for them to exercise that option given that the GOP has always argued that judicial appointments should be allowed a floor vote and not be kept bottled up in a committee.  My guess is that the latter of the three choices is the case.

The news stories coming out are kinda interesting.  The UPI headline says that “most want Sotomayor” and then you see the poll that it is cited has 47% of the respondents in her favor.  Yes, that is most but it is not a majority and, in my view, the headline is true but misleading.  CNN’s more accurate headline says that “nearly half support Sotomayor.”  Trouble is that you need more than 50% for confirmation.  If we truly had a representative republic with the lawmakers doing the will of the people, then one might conclude that Sotomayor was in trouble.  But, the poll says some 70% of Democrats support her nomination and the Senate has 60% of Democrat members. 

A Pitch to the Senate?

A Pitch to the Senate?

I suppose the biggest opposition for her nomination come from those who point out that she has been involved in rulings that have gone to the Supreme Court and have been overturned by the final arbitor.  There are many numbers being tossed about but this CNN report says there have been 8 cases that have gone to the court.  5 were overturned, 2 upheld and one vacated.   The most recent of which was a case in which she joined the majority of judges that ruled against plaintiffs in a discrimination charge brought by non-African American firemen who said that they were not promoted because they were white.  Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer predicted the high court would rule against Sotomayor’s position.   The Supreme Court overturned that ruling by a 5-4 vote and now opponents of Sotomayor will call the main plaintiff. Frank Ricci, to testify.   Former MLB pitcher David Cone will also testify, presumably to say that Sotomayor saved baseball.   My bet is that she will probably be confirmed but ponder whether or not her rulings will be judged to be as liberal as many think. 

Whether or not one thinks that her rulings have been just or not, controversial rulings by judges have been a part of the Amerian landscape since the beginning of the Republic.  So, don’t think that the final nomination vote will cause  the end of the nation one way or another.  Judges are by nature put in place to make judgements, but they are still quite fallable…human, if you will.  For instance…

On This Date In History: In May 1787, an old woman in Philadelphia was grabbed and attacked by a group of people who cut her head in an ancient tradition of bleeding out any spells she may have cast. They thought she was a witch. In early July 1787, a big heat wave was going on in the city of Brotherly Love. Dogs and horses died. The fields were dry and tempers grew as hot as the weather. No word on whether anyone blamed global warming. At the same time, 55 men were gathered in Independence Hall arguing over the forming Constitution. If you look at the painting above, you will note the central figure is General Washington. Just about every painting you see will feature the Father of the Country prominently. That is because he is largely credited with holding the conventioneers together. Not by words but simply by his presence. His silent, strong leadership was what everyone looked toward to get them through the turmoil. Another person in Philadelphia did not have the General to save her.

Philadelphia: City of Brotherly Love

Philadelphia: City of Brotherly Love

The old woman who was tormented in early May was a German known as Korbmacher. During the heatwave, a little boy died. Some on the streets of Philadelphia chose to blame her and attacked her again On This Date in 1787. The Pennsylvania Evening Herald story read, “We are sorry to hear that the poor woman who suffered so much some time ago, under the imputation of being a witch, has again been attacked by an ignorant and inhuman mob. On Tuesday last she was carried through several of the streets, and was hooted and pelted as she passed along. A gentleman who interfered in her favour was greatly insulted, while those who recited the innumerable instances of her art, were listened to with curiousity and attention.”

Eight days later, Korbmacher, which means basket-maker, was dead. The newspapers wrote that they hoped justice would be done to those who had perpetrated such a beating on a person, let alone an old woman. Well, a trial did get underway as several people said they would testify against some of the alleged attackers. Three things are interesting about the trial. First was it was held just prior to Halloween also known as All Hallows Eve or Witches Eve. Second, there is no record of the results of the trial. The third, and perhaps most intriguing is the commentary about the innocence of Korbmacher from the bench by the judge:

Judge: Old ladies are innocent

Judge: Old ladies are innocent

“what! that a poor wretch whose sorrows and infirmities have sunk her eyes into her head, and whose features are streaked with the wrinkles of extreme old age, should therefore become an object of terror, and be endowed with the powers of witchcraft — it is an idle and absurd superstition! If, however, some damsels that I have seen, animated with the bloom of youth, and equipped with all the grace of beauty, if such women were indicted for the offence, the charge might receive some countenance, for they are indeed calculated to charm and bewitch us. But age and infirmity, though they deserve our compassion, have nothing in them that can alarm or fascinate our nature.”

So according to the judge…Korbmacher was innocent simply because of her age. Yet, if she had been young in the “bloom of youth” well then she may very well be guilty of being a witch because everyone knows that young women have a way of putting men under their spell!!! How’s that for justice. All of this on the same streets that were at the very time witness to the construction of the very document that governs justice for all for this great nation. It’s too bad that General Washington didn’t go for a stroll at the hour of Korbmacher’s demise…his presence alone could have done what the Constitution could not.

SPC Severe Risk Sat 8am to Sun 8am

SPC Severe Risk Sat 8am to Sun 8am

SPC Severe Risk probability Sat 8am to Sun 8am

SPC Severe Risk probability Sat 8am to Sun 8am

Weather Bottom Line:  Friday is here and we will get to the low 90’s.  It’s summer.  Tomorrow will again be in the low 90’s with the possibility of a few afternoon t’storms.  Now, we have a cold front coming down and approaching.  Saturday night or Sunday morning, there will be a risk for thunderstorms.  The SPC has us in the slight risk for severe thunderstorms and has split the timing between Saturday and Sunday.  The models are a bit disheaveled but the general idea is that some time along the way, a short or series of shortwaves will move down along the approaching front.  Some models make the main short pretty strong, others have it weakening.  But, with the warm moist air at the surface, even at night, and with the lifting mechanism of even weak front, as well as the cold pool of air associated with any short wave (vorticity/upper low) there will be a pretty good shot at t’storms.  Of course, if one of these guys comes through, particularly if we haven’t had much activity, during daylight hours or early evening, then the risk for strong storms will be enhanced.   Anyway, Saturday looks to be the best day to get some yardwork done, though Sunday will be closer to seasonal averages temperature-wise.

SPC Severe Risk Sun 8am to Mon 8am

SPC Severe Risk Sun 8am to Mon 8am

DAY 2 CONVECTIVE OUTLOOK 
   NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
   1245 AM CDT FRI JUL 10 2009
  
   VALID 111200Z – 121200Z
  
   …THERE IS A SLGT RISK OF SVR TSTMS FROM NY/PA WWD INTO THE MID-MS
   VLY…
  
   …THERE IS A SLGT RISK OF SVR TSTMS ACROSS THE CNTRL HIGH PLAINS…
  
   …SYNOPSIS…
   UPR HIGH WILL REMAIN ANCHORED OVER THE SRN PLAINS THROUGH SATURDAY.
   ALONG ITS NRN PERIPHERY…AN UPR TROUGH WILL CONTINUE ACROSS SERN
   CANADA WITH A STRONG SHORTWAVE TROUGH DIGGING FROM THE GRTLKS REGION
   TO THE NERN STATES.  ANOTHER UPR SYSTEM WILL REMAIN JUST OFFSHORE
   THE PAC NW CST.  IN THE LWR LVLS…A FRONT ASSOCD WITH THE FORMER
   TROUGH WILL MOVE SEWD INTO NY AND PA AND SWD INTO THE OH…MID-MS
   VLY AND PARTS OF THE CNTRL PLNS SATURDAY AFTN/EVE.  THE FRONT WILL
   BE THE FOCUS FOR PSBL SVR TSTMS.
  
   …NY/PA WWD INTO THE UPR OH VLY…
   BANDS OF TSTMS ARE EXPECTED TO BE ONGOING AT 12Z SATURDAY AHEAD OF
   THE CDFNT FROM THE CNTRL GRTLKS REGION TO THE MIDWEST.  MAINTENANCE
   OF A FAIRLY STRONG SSWLY LLJ WILL ADVECT MODEST LLVL MOISTURE NWD
   INTO THE UPR OH VLY TO NY DURING THE DAY.  THIS WILL PARTIALLY
   OFFSET CONVECTIVE CLOUD DEBRIS AND AROUND 1000 J/KG SBCAPE IS NOT
   OUT OF THE QUESTION DURING PEAK HEATING.  AS LARGE SCALE HEIGHT
   FALLS SPREAD SEWD…TSTMS WILL REKINDLE/DEVELOP AMIDST 35-40 KTS OF
   WLY BULK SHEAR.  A FEW STORMS WILL PROBABLY DEVELOP INTO BOWS GIVING
   DMGG WIND GUSTS AND PERHAPS HAIL. 
  
   …LWR OH VLY TO NRN MO…
   COMPARATIVELY STRONGER INSTABILITY IS EXPECTED TO EVOLVE ACROSS THIS
   REGION SATURDAY AFTN AS LWR 70S SFC DEW POINTS BECOME COMMON ALONG/S
   OF THE CDFNT.  THIS IN COMBO WITH STRONG HEATING AND PRESENCE OF
   STEEP MID-LVL LAPSE RATES WILL CONTRIBUTE TO SBCAPES OVER 2500 J/KG.
    AS SRN PERIPHERY OF THE GRTLKS IMPULSE /AND PSBLY A
   CONVECTIVELY-ENHANCED VORT CENTER/ GRAZE THE REGION…TSTMS ARE
   EXPECTED TO FORM INVOF THE FRONT FROM SRN IA/NRN MO AND TRANSLATE
   ESE INTO THE LWR OH VLY BY EVENING. VERY UNSTABLE
   CONDITIONS…EVIDENCE OF DRY MID-LVL AIR IN FCST SOUNDINGS AND
   UNIDIRECTIONAL WNWLY FLOW REGIME ABOVE H7 ARE SUGGESTIVE OF A BOW
   ECHO ENVIRONMENT WITH DMGG WINDS AND LARGE HAIL LIKELY.  ACTIVITY
   COULD PERSIST WELL INTO SATURDAY NIGHT INTO PARTS OF NWRN KY/SRN
   IND. 
  
   …CNTRL PLAINS…
   THERE WILL PROBABLY BE A MINIMUM IN SVR TSTM PROBABILITIES ALONG THE
   BAROCLINIC ZONE OVER MOST OF THE CNTRL PLAINS AS STRONGEST SWLY LLJ
   AXIS AIMS TOWARD THE MID-MS VLY AND DIURNAL LLVL FLOW TURNS UPSLOPE
   OVER THE HIGH PLAINS.  HOWEVER…STRONG HEAT MAY LOCALLY BREACH THE
   CAP AND CONTRIBUTE TO AT LEAST ISOLD SVR STORM PROBABILITIES. 
  
   MEANWHILE…SHORT TERM MODELS SUGGEST MOIST UPSLOPE FLOW WILL
   STRENGTHEN OVER THE HIGHER TERRAIN OF CO DURING THE AFTN AS A WEAK
   PLAINS ANTICYCLONE SETTLES SWD.  APPROACH OF ANOTHER WEAK
   DISTURBANCE ALONG NRN PERIPHERY OF THE UPR RIDGE WILL ENHANCE HIGH
   TERRAIN CONVECTION BY MID-AFTN AND A WDLY SCTD STORMS WILL ERUPT BY
   LATE AFTN ALONG THE FRONT RANGE.  ROUGHLY 40 KTS OF BULK SHEAR AND
   VERY STEEP LAPSE RATES WILL RESULT IN A SUPERCELL ENVIRONMENT WITH
   VERY LARGE HAIL POSSIBLE.  ACTIVITY WILL DEVELOP EWD INTO ADJACENT
   SWRN NEB AND NWRN KS DURING THE LATE EVENING.

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