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July 13, 2009

The Facts: Judge Sonia Sotomayor

Listed in: Fact Sheets

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• If confirmed for the Supreme Court, Judge Sonia Sotomayor would bring more federal judicial experience to the Supreme
Court than any justice in 100 years.

• Before being nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the second circuit by President Bill Clinton in 1998, and confirmed
by the Senate, Sotomayor was appointed in 1991 to the U.S. District Court for the southern district of New York City by
President George H.W. Bush and confirmed by the Senate in 1992. Her skills on the bench clearly have transcended political
partisan divides.

• Sotomayor has been praised by former clerks, with 45 of Sotomayor’s clerks sending a joint letter to leaders and members of
the Senate Judiciary Committee expressing “their unqualified support” for her nomination.
    - The Washington Post, 6/2/2009

• “The American Philosophical Society lauded her as ‘one of the ablest federal judges currently sitting’ for her thoughtful
opinions and as ‘a role model of aspiration, discipline, commitment, intellectual prowess and integrity.’”
    - Down with Tyranny, 5/26/2009

• The American Bar Association (ABA) rated Sotomayor “Well Qualified” for the Supreme Court by unanimous vote of the
Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary. This is the highest rating ABA gives to judicial nominees.

• Many leading Jewish groups, in addition to NJDC, have praised the Sotomayor nomination and her strong credentials,
including the American Jewish Committee (AJC), Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA),
Orthodox Union (OU), and Religious Action Center (RAC).


• SMEAR: Sotomayor’s decisions have been overturned 80 percent of the time by the U.S. Supreme Court.
• TRUTH: “Of the majority opinions that Judge Sonia Sotomayor has authored since becoming an appellate judge in 1998,
three of them have been overturned by the Supreme Court. Our search for appellate opinions by Sotomayor on the
LexisNexis database returned 232 cases. That’s a reversal rate of 1.3 percent.”
   -, 5/28/2009

• SMEAR: Sotomayor is a “racist.”
• TRUTH: Sotomayor was quoted as saying, “There’s not one law for one race or another. There’s not one law for one color or
another. There’s not one law for rich, a different one for poor. There’s only one law.”
    - AP, 6/2/2009
“Judge Sotomayor’s record shows that she is completely unbiased in deciding race-related cases. The most common kind of
race discrimination case in the federal court system are Title VII employment discrimination cases, and Judge Sotomayor has
published five majority opinions in Title VII race cases since she joined the Court of Appeals. Of these five decisions, only
one—a sexual and racial harassment case called Cruz v. Coach Stores—was decided in the plaintiff’s favor.”
    - The Wonk Room: Fact Check, 5/28/2009

• SMEAR: Sotomayor is an “intellectual lightweight.”
• TRUTH: Sotomayor is as intellectually qualified as any justice sitting on the bench today. Sotomayor’s 20 years of service in
the federal courts exceeds comparable experience of anyone recently nominated. She graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta
Kappa from Princeton University and went on to earn her Juris Doctor from Yale Law School. While at Yale, Sotomayor was
editor of the Yale Law Journal.


• Born in the South Bronx to a Puerto Rican family, Sotomayor excelled in school and graduated as valedictorian of her high
school class, and earned a full scholarship to Princeton University.

• Sotomayor graduated from Yale Law School and served as editor of Yale Law Journal.
    - Talking Points Memo, 5/26/2009