From the 2009 News Archive
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Prof. Ifill Discusses Sotomayor Nomination in National Press

Professor Sherrilyn Ifill, a nationally recognized expert in the importance of judicial diversity and impartiality in judicial decision-making, has written and spoken frequently in the national press about President Obama's nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court of the United States and her Senate confirmation hearings.

Most recently, she published a July 23 op-ed, "A Failed Conversation," in The Baltimore Sun, that criticized the "long list of calculated and deeply corrosive manipulations that characterized the discussion of race in the Judiciary Committee chambers." She cited the Sotomayor hearings as "a challenge to us to continue talking about race outside the political theater of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and to engage more respectfully and productively about one of our country's most complex and entrenched problems."

Read Prof. Ifill's Baltimore Sun op-ed.

On July 16, Professor Ifill appeared on NPR's "Talk of the Nation" to discuss the impact of gender and ethnicity in the judicial system and how important it is that Supreme Court Justices come from varied backgrounds.

Listen to Professor Ifill on "Talk of the Nation."

On May 26, Professor Ifill appeared on CNN to discuss Judge Sotomayor's nomination.

"The election of the first black President of the United States wasn't just an important moment for African Americans, it was an important moment for this country. In the same way, the nomination of the first Latina Supreme Court Justice is an important step and moment for all of us," said Professor Ifill.

Watch the CNN interview.

In the weeks leading up to Judge Sotomayor's nomination, Prof. Ifill argued that the Supreme Court should include people with qualifications other than service as federal appellate judges, including state court judges, full-time law professors, former criminal defense attorneys, even civil practice trial lawyers. Prior to joining the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Sotomayor had served as a prosecutor and federal trial judge.

"If you heard the President's announcement today, he talked about [Judge Sotomayor] bringing something to the Court that's not present. He talked about her having been a trial judge, and that was particularly important. He talked about her range of experience, which he described as being more varied than the experience of any Justice currently sitting on the Court when they were nominated," Prof. Ifill said. "I think it's clear the president was being attentive to trying to fill in some of the blanks on the court, and not just in terms of gender and race."

Professor Ifill is nationally recognized as an advocate in the areas of civil rights, voting rights, judicial diversity and judicial decision-making. Professor Ifill also writes about the history of racial violence and contemporary reconciliation efforts. Her book about truth and reconciliation commissions for lynching, On the Courthouse Lawn: Confronting the Legacy of Lynching in the 21st Century was released by Beacon Books in 2007.


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500 W. Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD 21201-1786 PHONE: (410) 706-7214 FAX: (410) 706-4045 / TDD: (410) 706-7714

Copyright © 2014, University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. All Rights Reserved