Did Thomas Zing Sotomayor in her first unanimous opinion?

December 8th, 2009

At Faculty Lounge, Professor Muller calls out Justice Thomas for his concurrence in Mohawk Industries v. Carpenter:

Justice Thomas filed an opinion concurring in the judgment (in part), so the Court was not unanimous except as to the judgment.  What’s more, Thomas decided to talk a little trash about (of all things) one of the very things for which Sotomayor was criticized in the debate about her confirmation — making “value judgments” and subordinating a statute to what she “thinks is a good idea.”

For a guy who is so good at holding his tongue, he picked a bad moment to speak.

Totally rude.

So what did CT write?

The Court concedes that Congress, which holds the consti-tutional reins in this area, has determined that such value judgments are better left to the “collective experience of bench and bar” and the “opportunity for full airing” that rulemaking provides. Ante, at 13. This determination is entitled to our full respect, in deed as well as in word.

Accordingly, I would leave the value judgments the Court makes in its opinion to the rulemaking process, and in so doing take this opportunity to limit—effectively, predicta-bly, and in a way we should have done long ago—the doctrine that, with a sweep of the Court’s pen, subordi-nated what the appellate jurisdiction statute says to whatthe Court thinks is a good idea.

Got empathy?