The events of the last few days reinforce the thought that you can’t be sure what any Supreme Court Justice will do no matter who nominates them. Justice Sonia Sotomayor was supposed to be a liberal justice. John Roberts was supposed to be a conservative. Go figure.
On December 31, Justice Sotomayor has a very busy day. She capped off the day with pushing the button for the big ball over Times Square–ringing in the New Year in style and she looked beautiful doing it.
Earlier in the day she was busy being the “on call” justice for cases that can’t wait.
First on mandated contraceptive coverage for elderly Catholic nuns, Politico reported:
Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor late on New Year’s Eve blocked Obamacare’s requirement that a care facility for the elderly run by Catholic nuns provide contraception coverage to its employees.
The requirement was due to go into effect on Jan. 1 for the non-profit company and other religious-affiliated institutions across the country. Several lower courts on Monday granted similar emergency petitions, but a request from the Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged in Denver was denied, prompting its lawyers to go to the Supreme Court.
In her order, Sotomayor blocked the government from enforcing the requirement on the Denver home until further notice from the Supreme Court. The government has until Friday at 10 a.m. to respond.
The emergency order issued Tuesday night applies only to the Denver facility but any further ruling from the court could have wide ranging repercussions. Nearly 100 for-profit and non-profit institutions have filed lawsuits over the Affordable Care Act’s contraception coverage requirement, arguing that it requires them to violate their religious beliefs against the use of contraception.
The court has already agreed to take up two cases brought by for-profit companies. But institutions with a religious affiliation, such as the Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged, may face different circumstances. In its petition, the company said it expects fines of $1.1 million on January 1 alone.
Sotomayor is responsible for petitions stemming from the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Since then, the parties have submitted petitions and the Department of Justice is pressing Sotomayor to force contraceptive coverage on elderly Catholic nuns.
Then, on December 20th, a federal judge ruled that Utah’s ban on same-sex marriages was unconstitutional. This opened the door for couples to begin marrying in Utah. The state asked the Supreme Court and Justice Sotomayor to put a stay on this decision. Sotomayor ruled to put a hold on the lower court’s ruling while waiting for briefs from couples effected.
On January 6, the court ruled to put a stop to same-sex marriages in conservative Utah on Monday while the state appeals a federal district court’s ruling that had legalized the unions.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor is not Justice Antonin Scalia or Justice Clarence Thomas. She’s a liberal’s liberal, or may the office has turned her into a Constitutionalist?
While I’ve taken stands in opposition to judicial nominations, I believe president’s have the right to have their nominees within reason with the advice and consent of the Senate. Elections have consequences and the consequence of putting a liberal like President Barack Obama in the White House for eight years is he will have the opportunity to nominate liberal judges to the courts of America and in some cases, “pack the courts.”
But it must be giving the president pause to see one of his appointments to the Supreme Court become the darling of the right in the lead up to 2014.