Even Liberal Dissenters in Firefighter Case Thought Sotomayor Goofed

Here's something most likely to go unnoticed as the mainstream media continues reporting on the fallout of the New Haven firefighter case.

In his "Bench Memos" blog, National Review's Ed Whelan explains in "9-0 Against Sotomayor" how even the four liberal justices in today's Ricci v. DeStefano ruling thought Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor goofed in issuing summary judgment for New Haven when the case was before her (italics Whelan's, bold mine):

In footnote 10 of her dissent, Justice Ginsburg states: "Ordinarily, a remand for fresh consideration [whether the City of New Haven in fact had good cause to act] would be in order." But because the majority saw no need to remand, Ginsburg explains "why, if final disposition by this Court is indeed appropriate, New Haven should be the prevailing party." (Emphasis added.)

In other words, Ginsburg doesn't believe that final disposition of the case is appropriate. She and her fellow dissenters therefore believe that Sotomayor and her Second Circuit colleagues and the district court were wrong to grant summary judgment to the City of New Haven.

To be fair, this is a footnote in the dissent and general assignment reporters are unlikely to read the ruling that thoroughly. Legal experts paid by networks for their expertise, on the other hand, may be held to a higher standard for failing to notice the significance.

At any rate, thanks to Whelan and the conservative blogosphere, what may go unnoticed and unheralded in the mainstream media will not remain completely unreported as we move forward to Sotomayor's confirmation hearings.

Appointments Judiciary Sotomayor Nomination National Review Sonia Sotomayor Ed Whelan