Sotomayor and her panel colleagues were bound by longstanding
precedent and federal law. They applied the law without regard to
their personal views and unanimously affirmed the district court
ruling. To do anything but would have been judicial activism.
The full Second Circuit backed up the panel, which came as no
surprise. Nearly ten years earlier a Second Circuit panel --
consisting of three GOP nominees -- reached the same conclusion in a
similar case (Hayden v. County of Nassau).
When a case virtually identical to Ricci came before the Sixth Circuit
-- Oakley v. Memphis -- a panel rejected the plaintiffs' claims and
affirmed the district court ruling. Notably, they did so in an
unpublished summary order, and one of the three judges was
conservative Bush nominee Richard Allen Griffin.
In other words, Sotomayor is anything but an outlier. She and the
seven other federal judges who decided Ricci and Oakley at the
district and circuit levels were unanimous in determining that
precedent and federal law required the rejection of the suits.