More than anything else, Judge Sonia Sotomayor is a judicial conservative who has hewed closely to established precedent, according to a new analysis by the Congressional Research Service of appellate court decisions authored by President Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court.
“Perhaps the most consistent characteristic of Judge Sotomayor’s approach as an appellate judge has been an adherence to the doctrine of stare decisis, i.e., the upholding of past judicial precedents,” the 59-page CRS report (pdf) stated.
In several important areas, however, the Judge’s conception of the law remains opaque. For example, “An examination of Judge Sotomayor’s opinions provides little guidance as to her judicial philosophy regarding executive authority in the realm of national security,” the report said.
Judge Sotomayor authored two opinions involving the Freedom of Information Act. But “because the opinions are few and relied on relevant Supreme Court precedent, it is difficult to draw conclusions from them regarding her overall approach to FOIA or to related matters such as individual privacy or transparency in government,” the CRS concluded. See “Judge Sonia Sotomayor: Analysis of Selected Opinions,” June 19, 2009.
Other noteworthy new CRS reports obtained by Secrecy News include the following (all pdf):
“Supreme Court Nominations: Senate Floor Procedure and Practice, 1789-2009,” updated June 5, 2009.
“Iran’s 2009 Presidential Elections,” June 22, 2009.