Wednesday’s New York Times was preoccupied with yesterdays’ significant Supreme Court decisions, including aggrieved reporting on the court upholding Trump’s travel ban against seven predominantly Muslim countries in the name of national security.
Liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s latest melodramatic dissent warmed the angry hearts of liberals frustrated by the latest 5-4 ruling against them, and provided another clipping for the paper’s extensive Sotomayor fan-club file, reporter Catie Edmondson’s “Condemning ‘Hostility And Animus’ In Policy.”
Edmondson wrote a full story on the dissent, a story the paper certainly wouldn't run to commemorate a loss for conservatives at the Court. She staged the scene in dramatic fashion:
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., reading for the majority on Tuesday morning, spoke clinically. Justice Stephen G. Breyer followed, working his way through his dissent mildly and analytically.
Then it was Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s turn.
Steely and unwavering, she began: “The United States of America is a nation built upon the promise of religious liberty. Our founders honored that core promise by embedding the principle of religious neutrality in the First Amendment.”
The crowded courthouse fell silent.
In upholding President Trump’s ban on travel from several mostly Muslim countries, Justice Sotomayor continued, the Supreme Court had failed to “safeguard that fundamental principle.”
For the next 20 minutes, Justice Sotomayor remained resolute as she delivered an extraordinarily scorching dissent, skewering the court’s decision and condemning the ban as “harrowing” and “motivated by hostility and animus toward the Muslim faith.”
The remarkable dissent was delivered by a woman who has championed her own upbringing as an example of the American dream. Justice Sotomayor, whose parents moved from Puerto Rico during World War II, was raised in a housing project in the Bronx. Her father did not speak English and her first language was Spanish. But determined to become a judge, she would go on to attend Princeton University and become the Supreme Court’s first Latina justice.
That was the crux of the Justice Sotomayor’s damning conclusion: The president’s ban is “inexplicable by anything but animus,” and to argue anything else is to divorce oneself from the facts.
Justice Sotomayor chose her words carefully and sharply, at one point charging that Mr. Trump’s policy “now masquerades behind a facade of national security concerns.”
But one of her most striking decisions was to repeat the words of the president himself. Citing over a dozen instances in which Mr. Trump tweeted or issued anti-Muslim sentiments, it was his words, not her own, that rang out from the bench.
She continued down the list for minutes, reading one example after another.
The conservative justices, staring unblinkingly ahead, remained stone-faced.
Edmondson was all ears for Sotomayor’s wisdom, treating her more like a wise sage than a figure in the news to be reported on:
In another powerful passage, Justice Sotomayor drew parallels between the decision and Korematsu v. United States, the 1944 ruling that upheld the detention of Japanese-Americans during World War II....
Justice Sotomayor continued that “our nation has done much to leave its sordid legacy behind” in the years since Korematsu. But, she reasoned, “it does not make the majority’s decision here acceptable or right.”