The XX Factor

More on Sotomayor’s Criminal Justice Record

Another snippet on Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s record in criminal cases when she was an appeals court judge on the Second Circuit:

Her appellate record in opinions she wrote, as the New Yorker reports based on analysis by University of Texas law professor Stefanie Lindquist, is 81 percent pro-government and 19 percent pro-defendant. I asked Lindquist to run the numbers on the other judges in the Second Circuit, and in a random sample from 1998 to 2002, their votes were 60 percent pro-government to 33 percent pro-defendant (the remainder fell somewhere between the two sides). So on a court where the majority of judges were appointed by Democratic presidents, Sotomayor tilts to the right on criminal justice matters. Which suggests she may sometimes part company from her liberal-moderate colleagues on the Supreme Court in criminal cases, too. For a much more detailed analysis of her votes compared to the rest of the Second Circuit, check out this Brennan Center link .

And then there’s this from Senator Leahy’s staff on the Senate Judiciary Committee, looking at all her criminal appeals votes (as opposed to just the opinions she wrote): She “affirmed criminal convictions 92 percent of the time and reversed convictions only 2 percent of the time.” No comparison to her Democratic-appointee colleagues, but when she was on a panel with two Republicans, she agreed with them in  these cases 97 percent of the time.