Usually Reliable Robelen takes a look at some of Judge Sotomayor’s education decisions. She’s not surprisingly heard some special education cases — they all have given the nature of special education law. Robelen notes Somoza but there is also Frank G., much of which has a lot of relevance right now in the debate about tuition for special needs students in private schools. Judge Sotomayer has also shown a very pro-disability streak in cases like the Bartlett bar case about testing accommodations for a dyslexic candidate.
There are other cases that offer glimmers around education, too. In a 4th Amendment case on strip searches in 2004, Sotomayor wrote a separate opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part that went further than the majority opinion in the case in over-turning the strip searches of two juveniles. And there is her dissent in the racially charged Gant case, about an African-American student sent back a grade, which will likely get some attention during the confirmation process along with the higher profile race case about the promotion of firefighters from Connecticut.
What can we infer from all this? Not too much on education specifically, arguably less than on Roberts, but Judge Sotomayer seems inclined to favor student rights (she won’t be joining in Justice Thomas’ efforts to overturn Tinker (pdf)) and seems to in general be sympathetic to individuals over the system. And disability advocates will also likely have another friend on the high court if she is confirmed.