Senate Confirms Sotomayor to High Court

Environmental issues played a role in Senate confirmation hearing


Kathleen Sutcliffe, Earthjustice, (202) 667-4500, ext. 235


The U.S. Senate voted to confirm judge Sonia Sotomayor as Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court by a vote of 68 to 31. The following statement is from Earthjustice president Trip Van Noppen:

“The confirmation of Judge Sonia Sotomayor for the U.S. Supreme Court is an affirmation that judges can and should be experienced, fair-minded and unbiased. President Obama made a balanced decision to nominate Judge Sotomayor, and we are pleased that the Senate has recognized the value of confirming non-activist justices to the nation’s highest court who will apply an exceptional legal knowledge of the law in their decisions.

“Environmental cases have gained significant importance in the Supreme Court in the last few years. Just this June, the Supreme Court decided in a 6-3 ruling that the Clean Water Act permits a mining company to pump hundreds of thousands of gallons per day of a toxic wastewater slurry in an Alaskan lake. During her confirmation hearings, Senators routinely questioned Judge Sotomayor on her perspective on the Clean Water Act and other environmental laws. It is obvious that environmental issues are receiving much more play and will continue to be major Supreme Court issues in the years to come. It is clear that smart and fair judges are essential to safeguarding our nation’s environment and the public health.

“On July 9, 60 national, regional, state and local environmental, conservation and Native American organizations signed a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee supporting Sotomayor’s confirmation. Today, we are pleased that the Senate has confirmed her to the nation’s High Court. Judge Sotomayor’s record evinces no clear bias in favor or against environmental issues, but instead reflects meticulous preparation, a balanced and thoughtful review, and a deep understanding of the law.”  

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