The reactions so far to the Supreme Court's 5-4 ruling in Ricci v. DeStefano are as polarized as the justices' opinions. And much of the commentary is focusing on Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor.
Wendy Long, counsel to the conservative Judicial Confirmation Network, released a statement saying the outcome reflects poorly on Sotomayor, who participated in the case as part of a three-judge panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit. She also voted against the appeals court rehearing the case en banc.
"Frank Ricci finally got his day in court, despite the judging of Sonia Sotomayor, which all nine Justices of U.S. Supreme Court have now confirmed was in error," Long said. "Usually, poor performance in any profession is not rewarded with the highest job offer in the entire profession. What Judge Sotomayor did in Ricci was the equivalent of a pilot error resulting in a bad plane crash. And now the pilot is being offered to fly Air Force One."
Over at SCOTUSblog, Thomas Goldstein of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld initially wrote this morning that justices stayed away from how the 2nd Circuit handled the case. The opinions today, he wrote, "have almost no discussion of the court of appeals' ruling. Justice Ginsburg has a short discussion of how the ruling reflected prior Second Circuit precedent." But he then quotes Justice Samuel Alito Jr., who wrote that lower courts had denied petitioners the "evenhanded enforcement of the law."
Even before the ruling came down, the liberal advocacy group People for the American Way released a statement from Marge Baker, its executive vice president. The "Supreme Court’s ruling, whatever it may be, will not reflect upon Sotomayor’s jurisprudence," Baker said. "Sotomayor and her panel colleagues were bound by longstanding precedent and federal law. They applied the law without regard to their personal views and unanimously affirmed the district court ruling. To do anything but would have been judicial activism."