Before her Supreme Court nomination, Sonia Sotomayor put some crooks in prison and cut others some slack, say the McClatchy Newspapers. She’s confronted killers and empowered police. She has also sympathized with inmates and challenged prosecutors. While tilting liberal in some areas, Sotomayor’s five years in the Manhattan district attorney’s office and 17 years on the federal bench appear to place her near the center in criminal law matters. “She’s a moderate,” said Judge Guido Calabresi, a colleague on the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals.
A review of Sotomayor’s appellate decision-making shows her criminal-law inclinations. Of 90 criminal law-related cases considered by an appellate panel on which Sotomayor has served since January 2002, she’s sided with the government 65 times and prisoners and defendants 25 times. Whether she’s ruling for prosecutors and prison officials or for inmates and defendants, Sotomayor is nearly always in the majority. Among the cases McClatchy reviewed, Sotomayor dissented on a defendant’s behalf only once. Overall, she’s a team player on criminal law matters – undercutting one potential Republican line of attack.