Sonia Sotomayor’s critics portray the Supreme Court nominee as a liberal activist, but her colleagues and legal opponents in the early 1980s draw a picture of her as a zealous prosecutor whose experiences combating crime have made her something of a law-and-order judge, says the Los Angeles Times. “I think her experience as a prosecutor balances out her liberal tendencies,” said New York University law professor Kenji Yoshino.
When punishment is at issue, she has joined liberal opinions to limit prison terms in drug cases. Gerald Lefcourt, a criminal defense lawyer in New York City, appeared before Sotomayor while she was a federal trial judge. “She always seemed to be leaning toward the government — not outrageously so, but if you look at a lot of her criminal law cases you can see she’s pretty conservative,” he said. As a prosecutor, Lefcourt said, Sotomayor was “very police-like,” he said. “Dismissive of what the defendant had to say about anything.”