Venable partner and former Assistant to the Solicitor General John Cooney was quoted extensively in a May 27, 2009 article in BNA Banking Report. The article discussed the impact Sonia Sotomayor could have on the U.S. Supreme Court and the nature of the first financial case she is likely to address.
According to the article, a challenge to the constitutionality of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act may be the first significant financial dispute for Sotomayor to consider as a Supreme Court Justice if she is confirmed by the Senate.
The constitutional challenge involves the Public Company Oversight Board (PCAOB), a nonprofit corporation created by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 to oversee auditors of publicly traded companies. The justices agreed to hear arguments that the Sarbanes-Oxley Act's creation of the PCAOB violates the Appointments Clause of the U.S. Constitution, as well the separation of powers doctrine. Cooney said the timing makes it likely that the PCAOB dispute will be the first financial matter for Sotomayor to weigh in on as a justice.
Cooney discussed Sotomayor's potential impact on the court, saying, if confirmed, she could have a long-lasting impact on financial services matters because of her experience on the Second Circuit, which handles an unusual number of banking, securities, and antitrust cases.
According to Cooney, justices who bring particular expertise to the court - such as Justice Antonin Scalia's familiarity with administrative law, gained during his time on the D.C. Circuit - frequently bring that focus to bear in a distinctive way when individual cases are decided, he said.
The same could be true of Sotomayor, according to Cooney. "Over time, the justices assert themselves and their expertise in particular areas," he said.