Geese & Ganders: Excerpts from a Quick Read of Judge Sotomayor’s Judicial Questionnaire

Excerpts from Judicial Questionnaire filled out by Judge Sotomayor and released today to the public:

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Q. The American Bar Association’s Commentary to its Code of Judicial Conduct states that it is inappropriate for a judge to hold membership in any organization that invidiously discriminates on the basis of race, sex, religion, or national origin. Indicate whether any of these organizations listed in response to 11a above currently discriminates or formerly discriminated on the basis of race, sex, religion, or national origin either through formal membership requirements or the practical implementation of membership policies. If so, describe any action you have taken to change these policies and practices.

A. None of the organizations [I belong to], other than the Belizean Grove, discriminates on the basis of race, sex, religion, or national origin. The Belizean Grove is a private organization of female professionals from the profit, non-profit and social sectors, but I do not consider the Belizean Grove to invidiously discriminate on the basis of sex in violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct.

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Q. List Conferences, Symposia, Panel events participated in since ascending to Federal Bench

A. [among many others] I introduced guest speaker Antonin Scalia at an event at Hofstra Law School

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A. [Feb. 09]: I moderated the “Confirmation Battles and Presidential Nominations” panel at the 2009 Federalist Society Student Symposium on Separation of Powers in American Constitutionalism.

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Q. Published court decisions?

A. [among others] dissented in a child custody case under the Hague Convention; her questionnaire notes that her dissent was “favorably discussed” in subsequent legal opinions in the United Kingdom and South Africa. See Sonderup v. Tondelli, [2001] 1 SA 1171 (CC) at 22-24 (S. Afr.); In re D (A Child), [2007] 1 A.C. 619, 628-29, 634-35 (H.L.).

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Q. Details of finances

A. [Provided, right down to the dentist bill]

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Q. Describe your experience in the entire judicial selection process, from beginning to end (including the circumstances which led to your nomination and the interviews in which you participated). List all interviews or communications you had with anyone in the Executive Office of the President, Justice Department, or outside organizations or individuals at the behest of anyone in the Executive Office of the President or Justice Department regarding this nomination, the dates of such interviews or communications, and all persons present or participating in such interviews or communications. Do not include any contacts with Federal Bureau of Investigation personnel concerning your nomination.

A. I was contacted by Gregory Craig, White House Counsel, on Monday, April 27, 2009, with respect to the possibility of a future Supreme Court vacancy. Between that date and the present, I have had frequent telephone conversations with Cassandra Butts, Deputy White House Counsel, including near daily phone calls after Justice Souter on May 1, 2009 announced his intention to resign at the end of the current Supreme Court term. On May 14, 2009, I was interviewed in person at my office by Leslie Kiernan, an attorney at Zuckerman Spaeder LLP. I was interviewed by telephone on Saturday, May 16 by Gregory Craig, Cynthia Hogan, Counsel to the Vice President, Ron Klain, Chief of Staff to the Vice President, David Axelrod, Senior Advisor to the President, Daniel Pfeiffer, White House Deputy Communications Director and Cassandra Butts. I was interviewed on Thursday, May 21, 2009 by members of the Administration including Gregory Craig, Cassandra Butts, Associate Counsel to the President Susan Davies, Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, David Axelrod, Ronald Klain, and Cynthia Hogan. Finally, I was interviewed by the President on May 21, 2009, and by the Vice President by telephone on Sunday, May 24, 2009. I have also had numerous phone conversations with different groupings of the individuals listed above. Other individuals have at times participated in these conversations, including Trevor Morrison, Associate Counsel to the President, Alison Nathan, Associate Counsel to the President, and Diana Beinart, Tax Counsel.

Author: Lesley Rosenthal

LESLEY ROSENTHAL teaches, writes, and talks incessantly about the law. She has developed a curriculum called Advocating for the Rule of Law: A Practical Approach, and she has designed and conducted workshops for artists, lawyers, writers, and others seeking to learn more about how to activate democracy. She is the Chief Operating Officer & Corporate Secretary of The Juilliard School and the author of Good Counsel: Meeting the Legal Needs of Nonprofits (Wiley 2012). Ms. Rosenthal holds a JD from Harvard Law School and a bachelor’s in philosophy, magna cum laude, from Harvard College. She is president of the New York Bar Foundation and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Follow her on Twitter or Facebook @GoodCounselBook and @LetUSROL