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Is court majority out of touch?

July 06, 2009

Re "Race ruling fuels critics of Sotomayor," June 30, and "High court has eye on 9th Circuit," June 29

Your article quotes several Republican senators who imply that the Supreme Court's decision in Ricci vs. DeStefano calls Sonia Sotomayor's judgment into question. Such a simplistic response merely testifies to the shallow trickery of these critics.

The federal district court ruled against the white firefighters. A federal appeals court upheld the district court's decision. The Supreme Court overruled the lower courts in a 5-4 decision.

So several appellate judges and four Supreme Court justices thought that the district judge was correct. A smaller number disagreed with the district judge and wanted to reverse her.

This puts the district judge, Sotomayor and all the other judges outside the judicial mainstream? Aren't there many legal scholars who think the Supreme Court majority was wrong?

The other article states that the Supreme Court has reversed 76% of the decisions it has reviewed this term. So all of those lower-court trial judges and appellate judges were ignorant of the law, put personal issues ahead of fairness and should be impeached?

Philip Brimble

Los Angeles

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The reversal rate by the Supreme Court is not a reflection of how out of touch lower courts are. It is a reflection of how out of touch the majority of the Supreme Court is. The fact that the Supreme Court majority enjoys overturning decisions that favor the poor and powerless is extremely troubling.

Greg Bristol

Santa Barbara

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Re "It's not black and white," Editorial, June 30

Like the civil rights advocates you mention in your editorial, I too was concerned with the Supreme Court's decision, but for a different reason.

This case was such a no-brainer on the law, equity, justice and, more important, plain common sense that I cannot fathom how four justices could dissent from the ruling. For the city of New Haven, Conn., to cancel the firefighters' test after it was taken -- in good faith, I might add -- because it didn't like the results is unbelievable. But for four ostensibly learned justices to vote to change the rules after the game is over is unconscionable.

Rather than "empathy," President Obama should be looking for common sense in court nominees.

David R. Gillespie

Bonita, Calif.

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