It took four months to confirm Harold Hongju Koh as the State Department’s legal adviser, largely because he believed in the relevance of foreign and international law.
By the end of the second full day of questioning Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor on Wednesday, it was clear that similar issues are troubling Republicans about her confirmation as well. And in her case, it’s a lifetime appointment that’s at stake. In sharp questioning, critics accused her of flip-flopping on the issue, stating in earlier speeches that foreign law should influence judges’ reading of the U.S. Constitution, and then testifying at the hearing that only U.S. law controls cases in U.S. courts.
Monday’s ruling in the reverse discrimination case Ricci v. DeStefano was not particularly surprising for the decision itself, which was widely anticipated. As many court-watchers expected, in a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court held that, by not relying on a promotional exam on which a group of white firefighters had scored well, the city of New Haven had discriminated against the white men in favor of black and Latino firefighters who had not scored as well on the exam.
Yet within hours, conservative groups were spinning events: A 5-4 decision, they claimed, amounted to a unanimous ruling by the sitting Supreme Court justices against nominee Sonia Sotomayor.