By LARRY NEUMEISTER, Associated Press Writer Larry Neumeister, Associated Press Writer Tue May 26, 10:34 am ET
NEW YORK – Sonia Sotomayor’s path to the pinnacle of the legal profession began in the 1960s at a Bronx housing project just a couple of blocks from Yankee Stadium, where she and her family dealt with one struggle after another.
She suffered juvenile diabetes that forced her to start insulin injections at age 8. Her father died the next year, leaving her to be raised by her mother — a nurse at a methadone clinic who always kept a pot of rice and beans on the stove. The parents had moved from Puerto Rico.
Sotomayor immersed herself in Nancy Drew books and spent hours watching Perry Mason on television, and knew she wanted to be a judge by the age of 10 after being inspired by a Perry Mason episode that ended with the camera settling on the robed sage.
“I realized that the judge was the most important player in that room,” Sotomayor said in a 1998 interview with The Associated Press.
Now, Sotomayor is one of the most important players in the nation after being nominated for a Supreme Court seat by President Barack Obama. It is the crowning accomplishment in a career that included a long list of achievements: Yale Law School; a stint as a prosecutor and at a Manhattan law firm; a key ruling in 1995 that brought Major League Baseball back to the nation after a strike; and most recently a job as a federal appeals judge.
The Manhattan-born Sotomayor’s humble upbringing has shaped her personality — vibrant and colorful, and so different from the Bronx projects where she grew up in a working-class existence in a home with a drab yellow kitchen. She is a food-loving baseball buff as likely to eat a hot dog at a street corner stand as she is to sit down for a lengthy meal at a swanky Manhattan restaurant.
Her work and everything else in her life are sure to face close scrutiny in the months ahead in a process Sotomayor is all too familiar with. Her nomination to the appeals court was delayed 15 months, reportedly because of concerns by Republicans that she might someday be considered for the Supreme Court.
“I don’t think anybody looked at me as a woman or as a Hispanic and said, `We’re not going to appoint her because of those characteristics.’ Clearly that’s not what occurred,” she recalled in the 1998 interview.
“But I do believe there are gender and ethnic stereotypes that propel people to assumptions about what they expected me to be,” she continued. “I obviously felt that any balanced view of my work would not support some of the allegations being made.”
Her baseball ruling in 1995 was among the most important moments of her career. Because of her position on the bench in New York, she was put in the position to essentially decide the future of the sport she so loved.
Acknowledging the pivotal moment, Sotomayor described how it is “when you see an outfielder backpedaling and jumping up to the wall and time stops for an instant as he jumps up and you finally figure out whether it’s a home run, a double or a single off the wall or an out.”
Then she scolded baseball owners for unfair labor practices and urged lawyers for striking players and the owners to salvage the 1995 season, reach a new labor agreement and change their attitudes.
As she showed with her March 1995 baseball ruling, the 54-year-old Sotomayor embraces the dramatic moment as well as any of the roughly 80 judges in the lower Manhattan courthouse that has been her home since her appointment to the bench in 1992 by President George H.W. Bush.
As a district judge, she advanced First Amendment religious claims by tossing out a state prison rule banning members of a religious sect from wearing colored beads to ward off evil spirits, and by rejecting a suburban law preventing the display of a 9-foot-high menorah in a park.
In 1995, she released the suicide note of former White House aide Vincent Foster, acting on litigation brought by the Wall Street Journal under the Freedom of Information Act.
Sotomayor, who has a brother who became a doctor, presided over a civil trial in 1996 in which the family of a lawyer who died from AIDS sued the makers of the movie, “Philadelphia,” contending that Hollywood stole their story. The case was settled but not before the movie with its dramatic courtroom showdowns was aired in court in its entirety, prompting Sotomayor to caution: “I don’t expect melodrama here. I don’t want anybody aspiring to what they see on the screen.”
A year later, she ruled in favor of the creators of the “Seinfeld” show in a claim that a trivia book infringed on their television program’s copyright.
Sotomayor graduated summa cum laude from Princeton, then became an editor of the Yale Law Journal at Yale Law School. She then joined the Manhattan district attorney’s office and the board of the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund.
She spent five years as a prosecutor before joining the midtown law firm of Pavia & Harcourt, where she worked eight years before her appointment to the federal bench.
Sotomayor is less affluent than many of the typical high court prospects. Though drawing a six-figure income, she lives in expensive Manhattan. Sotomayor earned $179,500 as a federal appellate judge in New York last year, plus $14,780 teaching at New York University’s law school and $10,000 as a lecturer at Columbia University’s law school, according to her most recent financial disclosure report.
Sotomayor owns a condominium in trendy Greenwich Village. She has had the property since at least 1998, and took out a $350,000 mortgage from JPMorgan Chase Bank last fall, the city records show. Sotomayor refinanced and used proceeds for renovations, her office said.
The condo, the only property Sotomayor owns, appears to be her primary asset. Other units in the building have sold for $900,000 to $1.5 million over the past five years, city records show.
Sotomayor listed two bank accounts as her only investments: $50,000 to $100,000 in a Citibank savings account and up to $15,000 in a checking account.
Since joining the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Sotomayor has shown an independent streak and an interest in separating emotion from interpretation of the law, as she did in writing the dissent in a 2-to-1 decision in 2000. The appeals court ruled that the 1996 crash of TWA Flight 800 eight miles off the coast of Long Island occurred within U.S. territorial waters, allowing victims’ families to sue for damages that would have been barred if it happened in international seas.
Sotomayor said it seemed that the appeals panel was ignoring legislative history and earlier case law “in an understandable desire to provide the relatives and estate representatives … a more generous recovery.”
She said it was clear that Congress intended the Death on the High Seas Act to apply to any deaths that happened beyond three nautical miles from the U.S. coast and that those who drafted the law wanted to “provide a remedy, not the most generous remedy.”
Her rulings and comments during oral arguments also have reflected a law-and-order interest.
In 2000, she warned a lawyer who appealed the 30-year prison sentence given to a police officer who sodomized a defendant that the appeals court might suggest the sentence should be increased because of the brutality of the crime.
In 2007, she wrote an appeals opinion finding it was constitutional for state troopers to lure suspects away from two vehicles while they searched the cars for cocaine.
“There was ample probable cause to support these searches, and a disinterested magistrate judge assuredly would have issued a warrant had one been sought,” she wrote.
In another case, she gave an asylum seeker a second chance after his claim was rejected because he failed to appear at a hearing because his attorney was upstairs in possession of the document he needed to get into the building.
Sotomayor describes herself as “extraordinarily intense and very fun-loving.”
At a recent program honoring the creator of a documentary showing children who have thrived even in threatening environments, Sotomayor, her round face beaming, seemed to be enjoying the attention she was receiving as her nomination to the Supreme Court seemed likely.
In brief remarks, Sotomayor described the documentary as fabulous.
“We should applaud more frequently those who transform a lost life,” Sotomayor said.
As Sotomayor saw it, she was not so far from her humble childhood that she was not emotionally touched when she signed her first judgment of conviction after becoming a judge.
“That emotion will never leave me — humility,” she said. “A deep, deep sense of humility. And a deep, deep sense of there but for the grace of God could I have gone and many that I have loved.”
Associated Press Writer Sharon Theimer in Washington contributed to this story.
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Today we will read over the piece we wrote as a group story on 4/28 as a group and give out parts. Practice reading them and the record
Here is the link to the 4/28 post
This Day In History:
May 5, 1864
Grant and Lee clash in the Wilderness forest
The forces of Union General Ulysses S. Grant and Confederate General Robert E. Lee clash in the Wilderness, beginning an epic campaign. Lee had hoped to meet the Federals, who plunged into the tangled Wilderness west of Chancellorsville, Virginia, the day before, in the dense woods in order to mitigate the nearly two-to-one advantage Grant possessed as the campaign opened.
The conflict quickly spread along a two-mile front, as numerous attacks from both sides sent the lines surging back and forth. The fighting was intense and complicated by the fact that the combatants rarely saw each other through the thick undergrowth. Whole brigades were lost in the woods. Muzzle flashes set the forest on fire, and hundreds of wounded men died in the inferno. The battle may have been particularly unsettling for the Union troops, who came across skeletons of Yankee soldiers killed the year before at the Battle of Chancellorsville, their shallow graves opened by spring rains.
By nightfall, the Union was still in control of the major crossroads in the Wilderness. The next two days brought more pitched battles without a clear victory for either side. Grant eventually pulled out and moved further south toward Richmond, and for the next six weeks the two great armies maneuvered around the Confederate capital.
As we continue writing our script on Lincoln lets consider the following points:
- The North entered the Civil War to reunite the nation not to end slavery.
- Lincoln was torn between his view that slavery was wrong and the fact that four slave-owning border states–Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, and Missouri–would secede if he adopted a policy against slavery. Putting the Capital city in great danger
- Lincoln issued an earlier proclamation stating that, if the rebelling states didn’t return to the Union by January 1, 1863, their slaves would be “forever free.” The states didn’t return, so Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation that same day
- As Lincoln had hoped, the Emancipation Proclamation strengthened the North’s war effort as many slaves fled the South and joined the Army and Navy from the North. About 200,000 .
- Remember There had been amazing amounts of Death and suffering on both sides in the battles of the Civil War, by 1863 people needed a reason to fight, and a reunited the Union was not a big enough reason to keep on dying, ending the evils of slavery however was a good reason for the North to go on fighting.
Perhaps the turning point in the Civil War is when Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation into there by freeing all the slaves.
January 1, 1863
President Lincoln read the first draft of this document to his Cabinet members on July 22, 1862. After some changes, he issued the preliminary version on September 22, which specified that the final document would take effect January 1, 1863. Slaves in Confederate states which were not back in the Union by then would be free, but slaves in the Border States were not affected.
The most controversial document in Lincoln’s presidency, its signing met with both hostility and jubilation in the North. After the preliminary version was made public, Lincoln noted, “It is six days old, and while commendation in newspapers and by distinguished individuals is all that a vain man could wish, the stocks have declined, and troops come forward more slowly than ever. This, looked soberly in the face, is not very satisfactory.” However, on the day he approved the final version, Lincoln remarked, “I never, in my life, felt more certain that I was doing right, than I do in signing this paper.”
By the President of the United States of America:
Whereas, on the twenty second day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty two, a proclamation was issued by the President of the United States, containing, among other things, the following, to wit:
“That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom.
“That the Executive will, on the first day of January aforesaid, by proclamation, designate the States and parts of States, if any, in which the people thereof, respectively, shall then be in rebellion against the United States; and the fact that any State, or the people thereof, shall on that day be, in good faith, represented in the Congress of the United States by members chosen thereto at elections wherein a majority of the qualified voters of such State shall have participated, shall, in the absence of strong countervailing testimony, be deemed conclusive evidence that such State, and the people thereof, are not then in rebellion against the United States.”
Now, therefore I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, by virtue of the power in me vested as Commander-in-Chief, of the Army and Navy of the United States in time of actual armed rebellion against the authority and government of the United States, and as a fit and necessary war measure for suppressing said rebellion, do, on this first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty three, and in accordance with my purpose so to do publicly proclaimed for the full period of one hundred days, from the day first above mentioned, order and designate as the States and parts of States wherein the people thereof respectively, are this day in rebellion against the United States, the following, to wit:
Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, (except the Parishes of St. Bernard, Plaquemines, Jefferson, St. Johns, St. Charles, St. James Ascension, Assumption, Terrebonne, Lafourche, St. Mary, St. Martin, and Orleans, including the City of New Orleans) Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South-Carolina, North-Carolina, and Virginia, (except the fortyeight counties designated as West Virginia, and also the counties of Berkley, Accomac, Northampton, Elizabeth-City, York, Princess Ann, and Norfolk, including the cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth[)], and which excepted parts, are for the present, left precisely as if this proclamation were not issued.
And by virtue of the power, and for the purpose aforesaid, I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated States, and parts of States, are, and henceforward shall be free; and that the Executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons.
And I hereby enjoin upon the people so declared to be free to abstain from all violence, unless in necessary self-defence; and I recommend to them that, in all cases when allowed, they labor faithfully for reasonable wages.
And I further declare and make known, that such persons of suitable condition, will be received into the armed service of the United States to garrison forts, positions, stations, and other places, and to man vessels of all sorts in said service.
And upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice, warranted by the Constitution, upon military necessity, I invoke the considerate judgment of mankind, and the gracious favor of Almighty God.
In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington, this first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the eighty-seventh.
By the President: ABRAHAM LINCOLN
WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.
I have been seeing the wonderful poems you have been posting on bulletin boards all over the building. I would love to do some podcasts of this work. Please see me if you are interested in having your students record their poems for post on our blog. I am available several periods on Monday and after 9 Am most mornings until 10:00 am.
Students should come ready to read their poem, and must have permission from their parents to post work on the Internet. Call me in room 311 or stop by and we will set up a time that poems can be recorded.
So Come on In and we will get podcasts of some of this great work!
Our Film festival is coming along nicely. Many of our scripts are completed and all of our films are in production in full swing, written here. Just a note I know how much work this is, and I am quite proud of my classes that have been so creative, diligent, patient, and dare I say it QUIET while we film.
If I would to compare this to mountain climbing I would say we are half way up the mountain, which if you have ever climbed a steep hill or mountain, you know is the hardest part. Our goal is to have all 8 films in the can as they say for May 30, so that we can make sure everything is ready for the June 11th/12th Festival our , D-Day so to speak. (CLICK ON THE LINK TO READ ABOUT THE REAL D-DAY AT WIKIPEDIA)
Any way keep up the good work, please be quiet during recording and filming!
*At one time there were slaves in all the states, but gradually slavery was outlawed in the north.
The time had come to outlaw it in the whole country.
On stage comes Mr. Lincoln, a tall, very strong, brilliant man, who at his core knew slavery was wrong, and knew that the United States survival was based on Thomas Jefferson’s word “That all men are created equal” and that it was time for the United states to live up to these words.
Abolitionists had been fighting for years to end slavery. But in 1860 the time had come. Lincoln the republican candidate for president beat the pro-slavery candidate Stephen Douglas.
The Republican parties main platform was to end slavery. Now we had our first republican president. Now the real trouble started.
When Lincoln won the presidency the southern states were afraid he would try to end slavery. So they decided to leave the United states.
At first Seven states declared their secession before Lincoln took office on March 4, 1861: These states decided to start their own country, called the Confederate States of America
1. South Carolina (December 20, 1860)
2. Mississippi (January 9, 1861)
3. Florida (January 10, 1861)
4. Alabama (January 11, 1861)
5. Georgia (January 19, 1861)
6. Louisiana (January 26, 1861)
7. Texas (February 1, 1861)
7. (February 1, 1861)
After the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861, and Lincoln’s subsequent call for troops on April 15, four more states declared their secession:
1. Virginia (April 17, 1861; ratified by voters May 23, 1861)
2. Arkansas (May 6, 1861)
3. Tennessee (May 7, 1861; ratified by voters June 8, 1861)
4. North Carolina (May 20, 1861)
Now we were really a country divided. And at war the Civil War!
The civil war was the bloodiest war the United States has ever fought. A war where American fought against American. The north against the south.
Mr. Lincoln started his presidency with a major war and a country split in two.
“I think Slavery is wrong, morally, and politically. I desire that it should be no further spread in these United States, and I should not object if it should gradually terminate in the whole Union.” –Abraham Lincoln1859
This is a world of compensations; and he who would be no slave, must consent to have no slave.
–April 6, 1859 Letter to Henry Pierce
On the question of liberty, as a principle, we are not what we have been. When we were the political slaves of King George, and wanted to be free, we called the maxim that “all men are created equal” a self evident truth; but now when we have grown fat, and have lost all dread of being slaves ourselves, we have become so greedy to be masters that we call the same maxim “a self evident lie.”
Lincoln Words. This year 2009 Abe Lincoln is or would be 200 years old. Happy Birthday Mr. Lincoln
Seems like a good time to learn more about him.
To understand Abraham Lincoln you have to understand the times he comes from. The united states was growing westward and half of the county the south had legalized slavery the north states including California and Oregon did not.
To understand Lincoln you have to understand that in 1861 The united states was a country divided, The south was a farming agricultural land, that needed slave labor to survive. The north was fast becoming the maunufacturing capital of the world and did not need slaves but need workers to grow and reach it’s potential. The United states was a country Divided by how they made their living and divided on the issue of slavery.
Slavery with it basis in evil was the ability of one man to own another, the way you own a car, to treat the slave as it wanted, to make money from the slaves labor, to deny the person the most basic freedoms, had existed in the Americas since the British settled here. Slaves were brought from Africa to be owned and used at their masters will.