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Updated July 10, 2009

Media Advisory: Law Professors Available to Talk About U.S. Supreme Court Nominee Sotomayor

Howard
A. E. Dick Howard
 
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Mary Wood
White
G. Edward White
Goluboff
Risa Goluboff

The following University of Virginia law professors are available to talk about how the Supreme Court could change in the wake of the retirement of Justice David Souter and the nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor:

A. E. Dick Howard
434-924-3097, adh3m@virginia.edu
White Burkett Miller Professor of Law and Public Affairs
Earle K. Shawe Research Professor

An expert in the fields of constitutional law, comparative constitutionalism and the Supreme Court, A. E. Dick Howard was a law clerk to Justice Hugo L. Black and has studied the court’s ideological move to the right. Howard was executive director of the commission that wrote Virginia's current constitution and has been counsel to the General Assembly of Virginia. He has been a consultant to state and federal bodies, including the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. From 1982 to 1986 he served as counselor to the governor of Virginia, and he chaired Virginia's Commission on the Bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution.

Of Sotomayor, Howard says:

"Judge Sotomayor fits perfectly into President Obama's search for a justice who would bring 'empathy' to the court. To the extent that a 'life story' matters, she certainly has that – up from a public housing project in the Bronx to Princeton University and Yale Law School.

"For those who look at the court from the standpoint of how well it reflects America's diverse population, she will, of course, be the court's first Hispanic. Ironically, her appointment means that, as before, the court will continue to be made up of nine justices, every one of whom sat on a federal court of appeals before being elevated to the Supreme Court. Also, her accession to the court will mean that seven of the nine justices will still have law degrees from Harvard or Yale.

"From the standpoint of the court's jurisprudence, replacing one liberal justice, Souter, with another, Sotomayor, is not likely to tip the court's balance. It may be, however, that Sotomayor will be a more aggressive and challenging voice for the court's more liberal justices. The last Warren Court-style liberals left the court with the retirement of Justices Brennan and Marshall almost 20 years ago. Might Justice Sotomayor provide a counter-balance to Justice Scalia? If so, the court will be a livelier place for her joining its ranks."

Related Media quotes:

G. Edward White
434-977-7549, gew@virginia.edu
David and Mary Harrison Distinguished Professor of Law

G. Edward White, an expert in Supreme Court history and constitutional law, clerked for Chief Justice Earl Warren. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, a fellow of the Society of American Historians, and a member of the American Law Institute. He has written books on Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes and Chief Justice Warren and numerous articles on the Supreme Court.

Related Media quotes:

Risa Goluboff
434-249-6245; rlg3t@virginia.edu
Professor of Law
Professor of History
Caddell & Chapman Research Professor

Risa Goluboff teaches constitutional law, civil rights litigation and legal history. Her scholarship focuses on the history of civil rights, labor, and constitutional law in the 20th century. She clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer.

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