Even NYT troubled by Sotomayor's Ricci case

The appeals court’s cursory treatment suggested that the case was routine and unworthy of careful scrutiny. Yet the case turned out to be important enough to warrant review by the Supreme Court, which heard arguments in April and is likely to issue a decision this month…

Catherine O’Hagan Wolfe, the clerk of the court, said in an e-mail message that such an order “ordinarily issues when the determination of the case revolves around well-settled principles of law.”

The Ricci case does not meet that standard, Judge Jose A. Cabranes wrote for himself and five other judges in a dissent from the full court’s decision not to rehear the case. The questions posed in the Ricci case, Judge Cabranes wrote, were exceptionally important “constitutional and statutory claims of first impression” — meaning ones where no binding precedent exists.