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June 30th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

How will SCOTUS reversal on Sotomayor decision affect her confirmation?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Critics of Judge Sonia Sotomayor have some new ammunition... now that the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of a group of white firefighters claiming reverse discrimination in New Haven, Connecticut.

The high court said New Haven was wrong to scrap a promotion exam because no blacks and only two Hispanic firefighters would have been promoted. It's a case that could change employment practices around the country... and make it harder to prove discrimination.

And it's a bit of an embarrassment for the White House - since President Obama's Supreme Court nominee had earlier ruled against these firefighters.

All this comes just two weeks before Sotomayor's Senate confirmation hearings... Republicans say the Supreme Court's decision raises issues about her ability to serve on the high court... they say they'll use this ruling, along with her 2001 comment about a "wise Latina woman" to question her views on discrimination.

But supporters of Sotomayor say the ruling actually proves her restraint and unwillingness to go beyond established precedents... that's because the panel on which she sat upheld a district court judge in the case. The Supreme Court's five-to-four ruling also gives the justice cover.

The White House insists there's "little political significance" to the court's decision when it comes to Sotomayor. I guess we'll see in two weeks.

Here’s my question to you: How will the Supreme Court's reversal of a decision by Sonia Sotomayor affect her chances of confirmation?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

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Filed under: Sonia Sotomayor • Supreme Court
June 9th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Should Supreme Court decide fate of 'Don't ask, Don't tell'?

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FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

When it comes to gays in the military, the Supreme Court has refused to hear a legal challenge to the 'Don't ask, don't tell' policy.

The law - enacted under President Clinton in 1993 - forbids those serving in the military from openly saying they are gay or lesbian... it also prevents the government from asking people about their sexual orientation. It's estimated that more than 12,000 members of the military have been discharged under this policy - including more than 200 since President Obama took office.

While campaigning, then-Senator Obama indicated that he supports eventually repealing the law; but he hasn't yet taken any steps to do so. A group of more than 1,000 retired military officers - including 47 four-star generals - recently warned the president that overturning the policy could cause problems recruiting and retaining troops.

But Liberal activists who believe gays should be able to serve openly are frustrated by the Supreme Court's decision... and the Obama administration's lack of action.Yet it seems like Democrats and the White House don't want to take on an issue that could divide the public when they need support for other issues - like health care.

Meanwhile a new Gallup poll suggests there might be more support out there on this issue than the president realizes. 69 percent of Americans now favor allowing openly gay members to serve in the military - that's up six-points from five years ago. Also –and this is interesting - the biggest increase in support has come from conservatives and weekly churchgoers.

Here’s my question to you: Should the Supreme Court decide the fate of 'Don't ask, Don't tell'?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

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Filed under: Supreme Court
June 1st, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Sotomayor's comments enough to derail nomination?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Republican senators are voicing skepticism when it comes to President Obama's Supreme Court nominee... although they are, thankfully, staying away from the hateful language of Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich.

If approved, Sonia Sotomayor will be the first Hispanic and the thrid woman ever to serve on the Supreme Court.

Republicans point to Sonia Sotomayor's strong legal background... yet say they're concerned about speeches she's made about a judge's decisions being affected by life experiences. The one comment that's getting the most attention is when Sotomayor said in 2001 that "a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male."

The top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Jeff Sessions, says: "It goes against the heart of the great American heritage of an independent judge." And Senator Lindsey Graham calls the remarks troubling and inappropriate, and says Sotomayor should apologize.

Well - it seems the White House has gotten the message that the judge's remarks could be a pretty big deal. The president himself came out to say he's sure Sotomayor would restate that comment - without indicating how he knows that. Mr. Obama says if you look at the judge's full comments, she was saying that her life experiences will help her understand peoples' struggles and will make her a good judge.

Sotomayor appears headed for confirmation, but the White House wants more than a slim majority; they're hoping for a smooth confirmation and a strong win - something that may be complicated by the judge's remarks.

Here’s my question to you: Will Sonia Sotomayor's comment about "a Latina woman vs. a white man" be enough to derail her Supreme Court nomination?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Sonia Sotomayor • Supreme Court
May 13th, 2009
05:52 PM ET

Does it matter if next Supreme Court justice is a woman or minority?

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Ruth Bader Ginsburg is currently the only female Supreme Court Justice. (PHOTO CREDIT: MARK WILSON/GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

When it comes to nominating the next Supreme Court justice, President Obama is likely under pressure from interest groups, lawmakers, you name it...

But it turns out Most Americans aren't too concerned about the gender, race or ethnicity of the person who will fill Justice David Souter's seat on the bench.

A new Gallup poll shows 64 percent of those polled say it doesn't matter to them if the next Supreme Court justice is a woman. 68 percent don't care if that person is Hispanic; and 74 percent say it doesn't matter if the next justice is black.

It's widely expected that President Obama will nominate a woman. Currently the Court only includes one female justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who has been battling cancer. Yet only six percent of Americans say it's essential that the president appoint a woman.

The poll shows women are more likely than men to feel that gender matters; but not by as large a margin as might be expected. And even a majority of women say it doesn't matter to them. There are also partisan differences - with more Democrats, than Republicans or Independents, saying it's essential or a good idea that the next justice be a woman. But again, a majority of all three groups say it just doesn't matter.

Here’s my question to you: How much does it matter to you if the next Supreme Court justice is a woman or minority?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Supreme Court
June 27th, 2008
04:55 PM ET

Will future of Supreme Court weigh on your vote for prez?

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FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

There's no shortage of issues concerning Americans when it comes to their vote for president in November: the economy, skyrocketing gas prices, Iraq, health care, and more.

But perhaps as important as any of these is the future of the Supreme Court of the United States. In recent weeks, the high court has made some key and often close 5-4 decisions. These include the reversal of the handgun ban in Washington, outlawing the death penalty for child rapists... and upholding the rights of detainees at Guantanamo Bay to appeal in U-S courts.

All of this serves as a reminder that the next president – be it Barack Obama or John McCain – could have a significant role to play in the make-up of the court perhaps for decades to come.

The Boston Globe reports that legal analysts say the court will likely have at least one vacancy in the next administration, and it could well be more than that.

The oldest justice is 88 and two others are in their 70s. And since the court is now split between 4 liberal and 4 conservative members with Justice Anthony Kennedy often as the deciding vote – even one vacancy could mean a big change. One expert suggests McCain could have more influence to swing the court if he becomes president because two of the oldest justices – John Paul Stevens and Ruth Bader Ginsburg – are part of the liberal bloc. Antonin Scalia is the only member of the conservative bloc who is older than 60.

Both Obama and McCain have attacked the other for the kind of justices they would appoint. But somehow despite the intensity of our politics, our Supreme Court has remained comprised of justices who are fair-minded and dedicated to upholding the law. Most of the time.

Here’s my question to you: How much will the future of the Supreme Court matter in your vote for president?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

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Filed under: 2008 Election • Supreme Court
June 26th, 2008
05:52 PM ET

Obama supports death penalty for child rapists

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FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

There was a moment yesterday during his news conference when Barack Obama could have made a huge mistake. But in the end his political instincts proved much keener than those of Michael Dukakis a few years ago.

When asked about the Supreme Court decision on the death penalty for child rapists, Obama came down on the side of the conservative minority. He criticized the high court's 5-4 decision to outlaw the death penalty for people who rape children.

Obama insisted that the death penalty should be applied quote "in very narrow circumstances for the most egregious of crimes”, which he says includes the rape of a small child. He believes states should have the right to consider capital punishment in such cases.

The moment when he was asked about it brought back memories of something similar that tripped up Dukakis during his run for president in 1988, and perhaps doomed his candidacy. Dukakis was asked at a debate if the death penalty would be appropriate if his wife was raped and murdered. He answered no, without any emotion or passion. Dukakis was ridiculed, Republicans used it against him and George Bush went on to win in landslide.

Obama has 2 daughters, who are 7 and 9, and he has long supported the death penalty while criticizing the way it's used at times. As a state lawmaker in Illinois, he helped to change the death penalty system in an effort to protect against innocent people being put to death.

Here’s my question to you: Barack Obama condemned the Supreme Court decision outlawing the death penalty for people who rape children. How will this affect his campaign?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

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Filed under: Barack Obama • Supreme Court
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