Sotomayor's every word faces judgement



WASHINGTON // When it comes to the US Supreme Court confirmation process, which can be as political as anything in hyper-partisan Washington, every word uttered by a nominee - whether last week or last decade - matters.

As Sonia Sotomayor held her first private meetings yesterday with key senators on Capitol Hill, the high court nominee no doubt found herself having to explain just what she meant in 2001 when she said she would hope a "wise Latina" would reach better decisions than a white male judge "who hasn't lived that life".

The line, delivered as part of a lecture to the law school of the University of California, Berkeley, later reprinted in a law journal, has touched off something of a tempest, even as supporters and critics alike comb through the thousands of rulings she has handed down over the years.

Some Republicans, including Newt Gingrich, the former speaker of the US House of ­Representatives, have gone as far as to label Ms Sotomayor a racist; Rush ­Limbaugh, the voluble ­conservative radio talk-show host, said her nomination to the high court was akin - in ideological ­reverse - to putting forth the name of David Duke, the former head of the white supremacist group the Ku Klux Klan.

While that charge is not getting much traction on Capitol Hill - other Republicans have in fact distanced themselves from it, concerned about the political fallout - Ms Sotomayor's comments raise a question certain to dominate her confirmation hearings this summer: whether her identity as a Latina woman would influence her work on the bench and to what extent that is appropriate and even, perhaps, inevitable.

"Personal experiences affect the facts that judges choose to see," Ms Sotomayor said in the same 2001 lecture. "My hope is that I will take the good from my experiences and extrapolate them further into areas with which I am unfamiliar. I simply do not know exactly what that difference will be in my judging. But I accept there will be some based on my gender and my Latina heritage."

It was Barack Obama, the US president, himself who first set off warning bells with a word choice of his own even before he nominated Ms Sotomayor, who serves as a ­federal appeals court judge in New York and teaches law at Columbia University. In describing the type of person he was seeking to replace Justice David Souter, who is retiring, the president said he wanted someone with "empathy".

Republicans immediately honed in, suggesting that was a code word for a judicial "activist", or ­someone whose personal views and life experiences would inform their interpretation of the law. And so the outlines of the debate - no matter the nominee - already were set. "In my opinion, the Obama ­administration seriously ­miscalculated in describing the ­selection process publicly as one focused on 'empathy'," David Stras, a University of Minnesota law school professor, wrote this week on scotusblog.com, which tracks news about and decisions of the Supreme Court. "Apart from being terribly ambiguous, it does invite probing inquiry into whether a nominee can apply the law with impartiality.

"Most Americans want the ­judiciary to apply and interpret the law impartially without consideration of the demographic or socioeconomic characteristics of the ­parties before it," wrote Mr Stras, who nevertheless believes Ms Sotomayor ultimately will be confirmed. The White House may also have underestimated the unease Ms Sotomayor's "wise Latina" line would provoke, saying at first that it was just that: a single sentence pulled from a much more substantial and nuanced speech in which the judge was addressing her identity, her life story and the way her experiences have shaped her as a person and a judge. "If you look in the entire sweep of the essay that she wrote, what's clear is that she was simply saying that her life experiences will give her information about the ­struggles and hardships that people are going through," Mr Obama said in a ­recent interview with NBC News. "That will make her a good judge."

All the same, the president said he was certain that Ms Sotomayor would have "restated" her idea, if given the chance. That now seems to be the defence Democrats have settled on. Dianne Feinstein, a California senator who sits on the judiciary committee, which will hold the confirmation hearings, on Sunday called the judge's comments "inartful" and "not the right thing to say", but said nevertheless that she understood exactly what the judge meant. Mrs Feinstein met with Ms Sotomayor yesterday.

Republicans have promised to give the nominee a fair hearing on Capitol Hill. But look for potentially vigorous debate: Mitch McConnell, the top Senate Republican, who also was to meet with Ms Sotomayor yesterday, said on the Senate floor this week that he had opposed her nomination to the appellate court 11 years ago "out of a concern that she would bring pre-existing personal and political beliefs into the courtroom". Many of those same concerns remain, he said. In the end, Ms Sotomayor will indeed have a chance to "restate", as Mr Obama put it, her comments from eight years ago when she appears before the judiciary committee in the coming weeks. If she is to be confirmed, as expected, she will have to emerge as her own best defender, mindful of the power of each word she chooses. eniedowski@thenational.ae

Civil War

Director: Alex Garland 

Starring: Kirsten Dunst, Cailee Spaeny, Wagner Moura, Nick Offerman

Rating: 4/5

SPEC SHEET: NOTHING PHONE (2)

Display: 6.7” LPTO Amoled, 2412 x 1080, 394ppi, HDR10+, Corning Gorilla Glass

Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 2, octa-core; Adreno 730 GPU

Memory: 8/12GB

Capacity: 128/256/512GB

Platform: Android 13, Nothing OS 2

Main camera: Dual 50MP wide, f/1.9 + 50MP ultrawide, f/2.2; OIS, auto-focus

Main camera video: 4K @ 30/60fps, 1080p @ 30/60fps; live HDR, OIS

Front camera: 32MP wide, f/2.5, HDR

Front camera video: Full-HD @ 30fps

Battery: 4700mAh; full charge in 55m w/ 45w charger; Qi wireless, dual charging

Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC (Google Pay)

Biometrics: Fingerprint, face unlock

I/O: USB-C

Durability: IP54, limited protection

Cards: Dual-nano SIM

Colours: Dark grey, white

In the box: Nothing Phone (2), USB-C-to-USB-C cable

Price (UAE): Dh2,499 (12GB/256GB) / Dh2,799 (12GB/512GB)

Company Profile

Company name: Hoopla
Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 10
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Investment required: $500,000

If you go

  • The nearest international airport to the start of the Chuysky Trakt is in Novosibirsk. Emirates (www.emirates.com) offer codeshare flights with S7 Airlines (www.s7.ru) via Moscow for US$5,300 (Dh19,467) return including taxes. Cheaper flights are available on Flydubai and Air Astana or Aeroflot combination, flying via Astana in Kazakhstan or Moscow. Economy class tickets are available for US$650 (Dh2,400).
  • The Double Tree by Hilton in Novosibirsk (+7 383 2230100,) has double rooms from US$60 (Dh220). You can rent cabins at camp grounds or rooms in guesthouses in the towns for around US$25 (Dh90).
  • The transport Minibuses run along the Chuysky Trakt but if you want to stop for sightseeing, hire a taxi from Gorno-Altaisk for about US$100 (Dh360) a day. Take a Russian phrasebook or download a translation app. Tour companies such as Altair-Tour (+7 383 2125115 ) offer hiking and adventure packages.
Company profile

Name: Homie Portal LLC

Started: End of 2021 

Founder: Abdulla Al Kamda 

Based: Dubai

Sector: FinTech 

Initial investment: Undisclosed 

Current number of staff: 14 

Investment stage: Launch 

Investors: Self-funded

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Kinetic 7
Started: 2018
Founder: Rick Parish
Based: Abu Dhabi, UAE
Industry: Clean cooking
Funding: $10 million
Investors: Self-funded

Quick pearls of wisdom

Focus on gratitude: And do so deeply, he says. “Think of one to three things a day that you’re grateful for. It needs to be specific, too, don’t just say ‘air.’ Really think about it. If you’re grateful for, say, what your parents have done for you, that will motivate you to do more for the world.”

Know how to fight: Shetty married his wife, Radhi, three years ago (he met her in a meditation class before he went off and became a monk). He says they’ve had to learn to respect each other’s “fighting styles” – he’s a talk it-out-immediately person, while she needs space to think. “When you’re having an argument, remember, it’s not you against each other. It’s both of you against the problem. When you win, they lose. If you’re on a team you have to win together.” 

A QUIET PLACE

Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Joseph Quinn, Djimon Hounsou

Director: Michael Sarnoski

Rating: 4/5

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Silkhaus

Started: 2021

Founders: Aahan Bhojani and Ashmin Varma

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Property technology

Funding: $7.75 million

Investors: Nuwa Capital, VentureSouq, Nordstar, Global Founders Capital, Yuj Ventures and Whiteboard Capital

Kill

Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

Getting there and where to stay

Fly with Etihad Airways from Abu Dhabi to New York’s JFK. There's 11 flights a week and economy fares start at around Dh5,000.
Stay at The Mark Hotel on the city’s Upper East Side. Overnight stays start from $1395 per night.
Visit NYC Go, the official destination resource for New York City for all the latest events, activites and openings.

Director: Nag Ashwin

Starring: Prabhas, Saswata Chatterjee, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Shobhana

Rating: ★★★★

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
$3.6 million led by Global Ventures

How to get there

Emirates (www.emirates.com) flies directly to Hanoi, Vietnam, with fares starting from around Dh2,725 return, while Etihad (www.etihad.com) fares cost about Dh2,213 return with a stop. Chuong is 25 kilometres south of Hanoi.
 

Sarfira

Director: Sudha Kongara Prasad

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Madan, Paresh Rawal

Rating: 2/5

The specs

Engine: 1.8-litre 4-cyl turbo
Power: 190hp at 5,200rpm
Torque: 320Nm from 1,800-5,000rpm
Transmission: Seven-speed dual-clutch auto
Fuel consumption: 6.7L/100km
Price: From Dh111,195
On sale: Now

THE LOWDOWN

Photograph

Rating: 4/5

Produced by: Poetic License Motion Pictures; RSVP Movies

Director: Ritesh Batra

Cast: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Sanya Malhotra, Farrukh Jaffar, Deepak Chauhan, Vijay Raaz

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Xpanceo

Started: 2018

Founders: Roman Axelrod, Valentyn Volkov

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Smart contact lenses, augmented/virtual reality

Funding: $40 million

Investor: Opportunity Venture (Asia)

The alternatives

• Founded in 2014, Telr is a payment aggregator and gateway with an office in Silicon Oasis. It’s e-commerce entry plan costs Dh349 monthly (plus VAT). QR codes direct customers to an online payment page and merchants can generate payments through messaging apps.

• Business Bay’s Pallapay claims 40,000-plus active merchants who can invoice customers and receive payment by card. Fees range from 1.99 per cent plus Dh1 per transaction depending on payment method and location, such as online or via UAE mobile.

• Tap started in May 2013 in Kuwait, allowing Middle East businesses to bill, accept, receive and make payments online “easier, faster and smoother” via goSell and goCollect. It supports more than 10,000 merchants. Monthly fees range from US$65-100, plus card charges of 2.75-3.75 per cent and Dh1.2 per sale.

2checkout’s “all-in-one payment gateway and merchant account” accepts payments in 200-plus markets for 2.4-3.9 per cent, plus a Dh1.2-Dh1.8 currency conversion charge. The US provider processes online shop and mobile transactions and has 17,000-plus active digital commerce users.

• PayPal is probably the best-known online goods payment method - usually used for eBay purchases -  but can be used to receive funds, providing everyone’s signed up. Costs from 2.9 per cent plus Dh1.2 per transaction.

Confirmed bouts (more to be added)

Cory Sandhagen v Umar Nurmagomedov
Nick Diaz v Vicente Luque
Michael Chiesa v Tony Ferguson
Deiveson Figueiredo v Marlon Vera
Mackenzie Dern v Loopy Godinez

Tickets for the August 3 Fight Night, held in partnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi, went on sale earlier this month, through www.etihadarena.ae and www.ticketmaster.ae.

Temple numbers

Expected completion: 2022

Height: 24 meters

Ground floor banquet hall: 370 square metres to accommodate about 750 people

Ground floor multipurpose hall: 92 square metres for up to 200 people

First floor main Prayer Hall: 465 square metres to hold 1,500 people at a time

First floor terrace areas: 2,30 square metres  

Temple will be spread over 6,900 square metres

Structure includes two basements, ground and first floor 

Four-day collections of TOH

Day             Indian Rs (Dh)        

Thursday    500.75 million (25.23m)

Friday         280.25m (14.12m)

Saturday     220.75m (11.21m)

Sunday       170.25m (8.58m)

Total            1.19bn (59.15m)

(Figures in millions, approximate)

Notable cricketers and political careers
  • India: Kirti Azad, Navjot Sidhu and Gautam Gambhir (rumoured)
  • Pakistan: Imran Khan and Shahid Afridi (rumoured)
  • Sri Lanka: Arjuna Ranatunga, Sanath Jayasuriya, Tillakaratne Dilshan (rumoured)
  • Bangladesh (Mashrafe Mortaza)
Milestones on the road to union

1970

October 26: Bahrain withdraws from a proposal to create a federation of nine with the seven Trucial States and Qatar. 

December: Ahmed Al Suwaidi visits New York to discuss potential UN membership.

1971

March 1:  Alex Douglas Hume, Conservative foreign secretary confirms that Britain will leave the Gulf and “strongly supports” the creation of a Union of Arab Emirates.

July 12: Historic meeting at which Sheikh Zayed and Sheikh Rashid make a binding agreement to create what will become the UAE.

July 18: It is announced that the UAE will be formed from six emirates, with a proposed constitution signed. RAK is not yet part of the agreement.

August 6:  The fifth anniversary of Sheikh Zayed becoming Ruler of Abu Dhabi, with official celebrations deferred until later in the year.

August 15: Bahrain becomes independent.

September 3: Qatar becomes independent.

November 23-25: Meeting with Sheikh Zayed and Sheikh Rashid and senior British officials to fix December 2 as date of creation of the UAE.

November 29:  At 5.30pm Iranian forces seize the Greater and Lesser Tunbs by force.

November 30: Despite  a power sharing agreement, Tehran takes full control of Abu Musa. 

November 31: UK officials visit all six participating Emirates to formally end the Trucial States treaties

December 2: 11am, Dubai. New Supreme Council formally elects Sheikh Zayed as President. Treaty of Friendship signed with the UK. 11.30am. Flag raising ceremony at Union House and Al Manhal Palace in Abu Dhabi witnessed by Sheikh Khalifa, then Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.

December 6: Arab League formally admits the UAE. The first British Ambassador presents his credentials to Sheikh Zayed.

December 9: UAE joins the United Nations.

ROUTE TO TITLE

Round 1: Beat Leolia Jeanjean 6-1, 6-2
Round 2: Beat Naomi Osaka 7-6, 1-6, 7-5
Round 3: Beat Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-2
Round 4: Beat Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0
Quarter-final: Beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-0, 6-2
Semi-final: Beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4
Final: Beat Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-2

Hotel Data Cloud profile

Date started: June 2016
Founders: Gregor Amon and Kevin Czok
Based: Dubai
Sector: Travel Tech
Size: 10 employees
Funding: $350,000 (Dh1.3 million)
Investors: five angel investors (undisclosed except for Amar Shubar)


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