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College of Law professors selected to review Sotomayor's qualifications

July 17, 2009

Jaclyn D. Grosso
(315) 443-9534

Syracuse University College of Law provided one of the two academic reading groups that evaluated Judge Sonia Sotomayor's written work as part of the American Bar Association's (ABA) evaluation of her qualifications for the position of Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

Sotomayor's qualifications were reviewed in the areas of integrity, professional competence and judicial temperament?the criteria on which the ABA's Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary (SCFJ) rates all federal judicial nominees. The SCFJ gave Sotomayor a unanimous rating of "well qualified," the highest rating a nominee can receive. This marks the second time the SCFJ has tapped the College of Law to support its evaluation of a Supreme Court nominee. In 2005, a College of Law reading group, convened at the request of the SCFJ, reviewed and reported on the writings of then-nominee Samuel Alito. The SU reading group, chaired by Lisa A. Dolak L'88, Angela S. Cooney Professor of Law, consisted of 13 members of the College of Law faculty who have expertise across a wide spectrum of substantive legal issues.

"We were honored to be invited to provide this service to the ABA and the American people," says Dolak. "What's at stake is public confidence in our judiciary. The ABA's process is comprehensive, thorough and apolitical. Each member of our group carefully undertook to evaluate Judge Sotomayor's writings against the ABA's criteria."

Other College of Law faculty members who served as reading group members include Aviva Abramovsky, associate professor; Hannah R. Arterian, dean and professor of law; William C. Banks, Board of Advisors Distinguished Professor; Jeremy A. Blumenthal, associate professor; Keith J. Bybee, associate professor; Sanjay Chhablani, assistant professor; Evan J. Criddle, assistant professor; University Professor David M. Driesen; Thomas R. French, associate dean and professor of law; Gregory Germain, associate professor; Margaret M. Harding, professor; and William M. Wiecek, Congdon Professor of Public Law and Legislation and professor of history. Individual members carefully and independently evaluated a substantial number of Sotomayor's judicial opinions and other writings, and reported to the SCFJ regarding Sotomayor's qualifications.

The second academic reading group consisted of professors from Georgetown University Law Center.

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