Sonia Sotomayor on Jobs



1995: OK'd free-agent system; ending baseball strike

On the Major League Baseball Strike: As a district court judge, Sotomayor issued an injunction against team owners for alleged violations of the National Labor Relations Act during collective bargaining negotiations with the MLB players association. The owners had sought to end the system of free agency and salary arbitration and imposed a lock-out against players as negotiations began to break down. The ruling ended the longest baseball strike in history. (NRLB vs. MLB, 1995)
Source: CNN coverage of upcoming Sotomayor hearings , Aug 1, 2009

Sexual harassment counts as a hostile work environment

Sotomayor has voted to sustain claims alleging a hostile work environment. In Cruz v. Coach Stores, 2000, she wrote for the panel in a case brought by a Hispanic woman alleging a hostile work environment, failure to promote, and retaliation. She reverse the district court's decision on the hostile work environment claim. Citing the allegations of racial slurs by the plaintiff's supervisor and sexual harassment, as well as the plaintiff's assertion that she was fired "under the pretext of fighting in the workplace after she was physically beaten and sexually assaulted," the panel emphasized the "physically threatening nature of the supervisor's behavior--which repeatedly ended with him backing Cruz into the wall--brings this case over the line separating merely offensive or boorish conduct from actionable sexual harassment." Moreover the opinion noted, "a jury could find that the supervisor's racial harassment exacerbated the effect of his sexually threatening behavior and vice versa."
Source: ScotusBlog.com, "Civil Litigation" , Jul 25, 2009

Acceptable to cancel civil service test results due to race

Sotomayor participated, but did not write a signed opinion, in Ricci v. DeStefano. The case was a challenge by a group of white firefighters in New Haven, Connecticut to the city's decision not to certify an employment test for use in promotions when the use of the test results would have made a disproportionate number of white applicants eligible for promotions than minority applicants. The city defended its conduct on the ground that it feared that certifying the results of the test would expose it to a discrimination suit by minority applicants. Sotomayor was part of a three-judge panel that initially affirmed the district court's judgment in the city's favor with a summary order that described the district court's decision as a "thorough, thoughtful, and well-reasoned opinion." The order noted that the judges were "not unsympathetic to the plaintiff's expression of frustration," but it explained that "it simply does not follow that he has a viable Title VII claim."
Source: ScotusBlog.com, "Civil Litigation" , Jul 25, 2009

The Supreme Court's Ricci decision set a new standard

Q: Don't you think that these firefighters and other litigants [in the Ricci case] deserve a more detailed analysis of their claims and an explanation for why you ultimately deny their claim?

A: The court's opinion recognize, as I do, the hardship that the firefighters experienced. That's not been said by anyone. The issue before the court was a different one, and the one that the district court addressed was what decision the decision-makers made, not what people behind the scenes wanted the decision-makers to make, but what they were considering. And what they were considering was the state of the law at the time and in an attempt to comply with what they believe the law said and what the panel recognized as what the 2nd Circuit precedent said, that they made a choice under that existing law. The Supreme Court in its decision set a new standard by which an employer and lower court should review what the employer is doing by the substantial evidence test.

Source: 2009 SCOTUS Confirmation Hearing, Senate Judiciary Committee , Jul 14, 2009

Other Justices on Jobs: Sonia Sotomayor on other issues:
Samuel Alito(since 2006)
Amy Coney Barrett(since 2020)
Stephen Breyer(since 1994)
Neil Gorsuch(since 2017)
Ketanji Brown Jackson(nominated 2022)
Elena Kagan(since 2010)
Brett Kavanaugh(since 2018)
John Roberts(since 2005)
Sonia Sotomayor(since 2009)
Clarence Thomas(since 1991)

Former Justices:
Merrick Garland(nominated 2016)
Ruth Bader Ginsburg(1993-2020)
Anthony Kennedy(1988-2018)
Antonin Scalia(1986-2016)
John Paul Stevens(1975-2010)
David Souter(1990-2009)
Sandra Day O'Connor(1981-2006)
William Rehnquist(1975-2005)

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Republican Platform
Tea Platform
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Foreign Policy
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Govt. Reform
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Page last updated: Mar 21, 2022