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Mole's Progressive Democrat

The Progressive Democrat Newsletter grew out of the frustration of the 2004 election. Originally intended for New York City progressives, its readership is now national. For anyone who wants to be alerted by email whenever this newsletter is updated (usually weekly), please send your email address and let me know what state you live in (so I can keep track of my readership).

Location: Brooklyn, New York, United States

I am a research biologist in NYC. Married with two kids living in Brooklyn.

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  • Saturday, June 13, 2009

    Sotomayor "hard to BS"

    As I have discussed several times before, a friend of mine is running for city council in my district in NYC. I have known Jo Anne Simon for several years and she is currently one of the district leaders for my area. I have also endorsed her for City Council. Locally Jo Anne Simon is best known for being one of only a handful of district leaders to stand up to local corruption. Nationally, she is known for he role as an advocate for disabled rights. I recently learned that in this capacity she has first hand knowledge of what it is like to argue before Judge Sotomayor, and I think her comments are worth knowing as Sotomayor is scrutinized for her Supreme Court nomination.

    This is from Jo Anne Simon's campaign website:

    In a letter to New York Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, Jo Anne Simon, civil rights attorney and candidate for the 33rd City Councilmatic District, strongly advocated for the appointment of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the United States Supreme Court and thanked the Senators for recommending her.

    As an attorney who argued a landmark case, Barlett v. New York State Board of Law Examiners, before the Judge, Ms. Simon brings a unique perspective to the discussion on her nomination on the recommendation for Supreme Court. After being cleared by the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1998, the Senate Republicans held up Judge Sotomayor's confirmation based in part by the Bartlett decision.

    Ms. Simon wrote, "I have enormous respect and admiration for Judge Sotomayor. She is brilliant, thoughtful and principled. Judge Sotomayor is demanding-of attorney, litigants and herself. She is uncompromisingly fair and respectful of everyone in the courtroom." Jo Anne Simon further noted that Judge Sonia Sotomayor understands, respects and connects with people whose lives would be affected by decisions of the Court.

    Ms. Simon went on to state, "I share my reflections on her qualifications from the position of one who has tried a significant case before her, Bartlett v. New York State Board of Law Examiners. Bartlett, a woman with dyslexia, sought admission to the New York State bar. The Board of Law Examiners had repeatedly denied her request for reasonable accommodations...Judge Sotomayor found that the Americans with Disabilities Act clearly required the board to provide the requested accommodations."

    In July 2008, Jo Anne Simon was asked to testify before the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee in connection with proposed amendments to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Congress later cited Judge Sotomayor's reasoning in Bartlett as the legal analysis it had intended when it passed the ADA in 1990.

    For over 30 years, Jo Anne Simon has fought to improve the lives of others. As a teacher and a lawyer, she has worked to ensure that all people have access to education, public services and the workplace. Early in her career, Jo Anne was a teacher for the deaf and a college administrator providing support to college students with disabilities.

    But I think the best statement Jo Anne has made about Sotomayor is not in this official statement, but is a quote from PolitickerNY:

    “It was very clear to me, very early on, that she was extremely bright and extremely careful about the way her court was run,” Simon said of Sotomayor, in an interview. “She was very demanding, but she was also very fair. It was hard to B.S. her.”

    I think one of the highest qualifications for a Supreme Court judge is for her to be hard to BS.


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