Op-Ed: What Does It Take To Be Confirmed To The Supreme Court?

Jenny Rivera
June 10, 2009

Originally published in El Diario/La Prensa NY: La Confirmación de Sotomayor

What do conservative and republican critics demand in the next Supreme Court Justice? Based on their statements it looks like this.

She must be exceptional, brilliant and have more judicial experience than any current Justice sitting on the Court. She cannot merely graduate from good schools, be a successful lawyer and a first rate judge. She must graduate from elite exclusive schools, at the top of her class, and win academic awards and recognition. She must, within record time, climb the professional ladder and achieve partner at a law firm. She must be the youngest person serving on the federal district court and a member of one of the busiest federal Court of Appeals in the country. She must not only write clear and rigorously analytical opinions, she must also decide novel legal issues, and have her opinions cited in law textbooks, law classes, and scholarly journals.

She must not only be collegial and well-respected by her colleagues, lawyers and law professors for her effective engagement in the courtroom, but she must be known for her quick and insightful analysis during oral argument. She must not only be well versed on the law and facts of each case, she must master the minutia in the record and arcane points of law. She must not only craft complex legal opinions but she must also persuade the other judges to agree with her.

She cannot merely be known by legal scholars and academics as a moderate judge, but she must have an extensive record on the federal court that does not reveal any type of agenda, but instead approaches every case on the merits, and treats each party fairly and with respect.

Regardless of whether this is more than required of any other nominee, it is a good thing for this country we have such a nominee, and her name is Judge Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina nominee.