ABA Journal


U.S. Supreme Court

Goldilocks Avoids Criminal Sanction When Sotomayor Judges Dispute on Sesame Street

Feb 8, 2012, 05:58 pm CST


Three and a half minutes of Sotomayor on Sesame Street gets covered by the ABA Journal, but an entire episode of The Firm about law grad unemployment doesn't?

By BL1Y on 2012 02 08, 7:03 pm CST

Big thumbs up to Sesame Street for the segment. When I was 8 years old, my parents took me to court on a suit against the owners of a dog that bit me. The award was fairly small but the exposure was priceless. After seeing the judge's work, I said to my mother, "I want to be a judge." To her credit she didn't say that we didn't know any judges or that there were no lawyers in our family or even that girls can't be judges. She simply said, "I think you'll have to be a lawyer, first." Confidently, I replied, "I can do that" and my life changed forever.

Who knows? The three and one-half minute segment with Justice Sotomayor may be the beacon leading to a bright future for a child whose surroundings predict only dim prospects.

By Public Housing Escapee on 2012 02 08, 8:18 pm CST

And think of all the product safety testers Goldilocks must have inspired!

By Houman on 2012 02 08, 9:23 pm CST

So they have this dispute between a skinny, adolescent, male bear, and a human female with a fondness for porridge, and when they come to the hearing room, the judge is this rather stout, human female, who probably wouldn't share her porridge if there was any choice in the matter. Quite apart from the issue of apparent over-lenience where unauthorized entry, theft, and destruction of property are concerned, shouldn't Baby Bear be reasonably concerned about the probability of affinity bias here? Wouldn't it be more fair if there was at least a three-judge panel, which included at least one bear, and maybe a weasel as the tie-breaker?

By B. McLeod on 2012 02 09, 12:11 am CST

re 2.: Congratulations, PH Escapee! Thank you for sharing your encouraging story. Best wishes.

By Walt on 2012 02 09, 2:04 pm CST

Not just children are in the audience of Sesame Street, rather a lot of adults watch & take lessons as well, and unfortunately this segment was not about justice or the role of Supreme Court Justices. It was about listening, compromising & working together --- behavior vital to civilized society and what Sesame Street excels at. So top marks for the latter goal --- but failing marks as even an oversimplified explanation of the role of the Supreme Court.

By Scott on 2012 02 10, 1:35 pm CST

Sotomayor began by explaining her role for young viewers. “A Supreme Court justice is a judge who solves arguments by giving his or her opinion,” she said. Her brief explanation of her view of the role of a Supreme Court justice, while probably not intended, correctly states the view of progressive judges.

By BullDog64 on 2012 02 10, 1:40 pm CST

To all those critical of the Justice Sotomayor's appearance on Sesame Street. Its Sesame Street! What did you expect.? Did you expect her to sentence Goldilocks to Muppet prison for breaking and entering? I agree with Scott the segment was about teaching kids a lesson not about her role as a Supreme Court Justice.

By Realistic on 2012 02 10, 2:29 pm CST

Cute segment, but I agree with BullDog, she certainly could have done a better job describing what a Justice is supposed to do (while still keeping it at a child's level), e.g., "A justice is a judge who listens to both sides in an argument, applies the law to the argument, and makes a decision." It would have been nice to get that, you know, *law* angle in there somehow, rather than giving the impression that it's just the judge's personal opinion that matters.

By Lex Luthor on 2012 02 10, 2:41 pm CST

Just a reminder to all the nitpickers...this show is for PRE-SCHOOLERS!

By really on 2012 02 10, 3:12 pm CST

Geez, people. It's Sesame Street. It doesn't have to be a perfect explanation of the American Justice System. It just has to expose toddlers to new things and encourage them to be better people. I'm sure they'll learn a lot more about the Supreme Court soon. Like when they get to kindergarten, perhaps.

By CC Esq on 2012 02 10, 3:20 pm CST

How cool that a U.S. Supreme Court justice would appear on Sesame Street! Thank you, Justice Sotomayor.

By BIG FAT UGLY OLD FEMALE LAWYER on 2012 02 10, 3:44 pm CST

I wonder if the people who are commenting on this have young children. My three year old loves Sesame Street, but there is no way she would understand any explanation that involves "applying the law to the argument." She's a bright girl for her age, but she would have no idea what "the law" is, and I doubt I could explain it to her. My six year old is just beginning to understand what exactly his lawyer mother does for a living. For that matter, I'm not even sure she would recognize the word "argument," either -- at three or four years old, kids are still grappling with really basic concepts, like "we don't hit our friends when we get angry" or "we have to share our toys." The average three year old only has a vocabulary that ranges from 500 to 1000 words, after all

By trj on 2012 02 10, 3:58 pm CST

Why are they speaking spanish again?
Times have certainly changed.

By jj on 2012 02 10, 4:03 pm CST

Borrowing without asking is STEALING.
The full replacement cost of the chair is due.
Bad decision.

By RO on 2012 02 10, 4:32 pm CST

Overall, really cool! Thank you Justice Sotomayor!

By RO on 2012 02 10, 4:39 pm CST

Very Nice, however the Justice decided the case wrong. In Texas Goldielocks committed Burglary of a Habitation, by entering the habitation and stealing oatmeal, she also committed Criminal Mischief by damaging the chair. The Justice should have sentenced Goldielocks, to 10 Years in prison but probated the sentence for 10 years for her overall remorse and lack of a criminal record.

Now that would teach kids a lesson!

By LDB on 2012 02 10, 5:04 pm CST

When my kids were little, watching Sesame Street with them was a guilty pleasure, and guest stars were a big part of that. I agree that Justice Sotomayor missed an opportunity to tell Goldilocks to take responsibility for her actions instead of whining that she "didn't mean to" (a constant refrain in my house), but I still love that she made an appearance.

By fallinginplace on 2012 02 10, 5:11 pm CST

Obviously, the case was not well briefed.

By Norm on 2012 02 10, 6:12 pm CST

As the author of the satire cited in the article, I had no intention of being critical of the justice. It was great to see her on the Street. My perspective came from thinking what would news coverage be like if the media took the case seriously.

That being said, I would have made it more of a teaching moment for Goldilocks.

By Brandon Kraft on 2012 02 10, 6:48 pm CST

I think I will take up Baby Bear's Appeal. I like the wolf for the second case.

By Jason on 2012 02 10, 7:55 pm CST

Very heartwarming... and great story PH Escapee!

I get very sentimental when it comes to Sesame Street... so many great life lessons learned.

By The Artist Formerly Known As Bakes on 2012 02 10, 8:47 pm CST

Actually, LDB, even in Texas, Baby Bear would be completely skrod. Justice Sotomayor, with this BS solution, managed to evade having to tell him that, as a forest animal, he can't have property rights. In fact, he lacks even the basic legal protections that might apply to a chattel beast of the field. Goldilocks could have smashed the bowl and bed he uses as well, shot Baby Bear a couple of times, peeled his hide off for the local tannery, then cleaned and roasted him, all without incurring any civil liability. So, he was lucky Justice Sotomayor was in a good mood (despite the impairment of her coffee time), and I guess the kids at home were lucky too, because they didn't have to see Baby Bear run away in tears after learning where he really rates with the law.

By B. McLeod on 2012 02 11, 1:15 am CST

What disturbs me, aside from everything about the United States today, is that a Marxist/Leninist like Sotomayer is sitting on the U.S. Supreme Court! The very thing we founding fathers warned those of you who think you're smarter than we are about. Tom Jefferson will have a bird when I tell him. And Adams will have a coronary.

Earlier this week, Justice Ginsburg told a delegation that South Africa's Constitution is a better role model than the U.S. Constitution. And Barack Obama, in an interview with that stooge Matt Lauer, said he's frustrated that he cannot "force" Congress to do what he wants.

These are dangerous times indeed. Letting Sotomayer on a children's program does not mask the true intent of the corrupt politicians and judges currently in power. Children should not admire Sotomayer...they should run from her as they would the devil.

By Benjamin Franklin on 2012 02 11, 4:03 am CST

What a good sport she is (regardless of my view of her opinions)!. She's the same way on the bench, injecting a bit of humor into the discussion without undermining its inherent seriousness.

By Dave Cahn on 2012 02 11, 8:33 pm CST

Indeed, but next time Baby Bear tries to get a hearing on something, he's in for a rude awakening.

By B. McLeod on 2012 02 11, 11:42 pm CST

Number 20, Brandon Kraft, number 20.

By Tom Youngjohn on 2012 02 12, 4:02 am CST

Benjamin Franklin @24:
Dude, you can't run from the Devil; he has wings! By making that simple factual error, you have lost all credibility.

By Psalmanazaar on 2012 02 13, 6:30 pm CST

@23 Thank G-d that Sesame Street is located in New York City...a liberal bastion where a sentient ursine such as Baby Bear can find a receptive leftie federal judge who will find that Baby Bear has legal standing as a person and US Citizen under the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments to the US Constitution.

Once again, Sesame Street flips the Big Bird to Southern Conservatives!

By faddking on 2012 02 17, 1:51 am CST

I can't wait for the sequel, where Scalia and Oscar sing a duet about how the grouches all agree on n-apostrophe-t.

By B. McLeod on 2012 02 17, 5:07 am CST

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