Sotomayor Apparently Eager to Get Things Started

By Kevin Fayle on December 09, 2009 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Sonia Sotomayor (remember her?) appears to be pretty excited about this whole Supreme Court thing.  The Court's newest justice issued the first Supreme Court opinion of her career yesterday, which also happened to be the first opinion the Court has issued this term.  Justice Sotomayor also chose to read the opinion aloud at the start of the Court's session yesterday.

As I said, it seems like she's pretty enthusiastic about her new gig.
The case, Mohawk Industries, Inc. v. Carpenter, dealt with appeals of disclosure orders that ran afoul of the attorney-client privilege.  Specifically, the Court was asked to determine whether those orders are available for immediate appeal under the collateral order doctrine.  Sotomayor, writing for a unanimous Court, held that they do not.

Perhaps even more interesting than the holding of the case was the fact that, despite a unanimous holding, Sotomayor has already raised the ire of Justice Clarence Thomas.  The New York Times points out that Thomas declined to join a portion of the opinion, stating that Sotomayor "had 'with a sweep of the court's pen' substituted 'value judgments' and 'what the court thinks is a good idea' for the text of a federal law."

The New York Times article also picked up on the fact that Sotomayor introduced the phrase "undocumented immigrant" into the Supreme Court's lexicon, marking the first time the term appeared in a Supreme Court opinion.  The Court has used the term "illegal immigrant" many times, and it will be interesting to see if justices continue to do so.

I would say that conservative pundits will likely jump on this new addition to the Court's vocabulary as a reason to attack Sotomayor, but I doubt that any of them read the New York Times, so it will probably go unnoticed.
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