There is one influential Broward Republican who is ecstatic about Sonia Sotomayor.
The Sotomayor fan is Al Entin, a veteran Republican activist and once general counsel for the Miami-Dade and Broward GOP organizations.
Entin says: “She’s a great judge. I’m enthusiastic about her. She’s a great pick.
The Pembroke Pines defense attorney knows Barack Obama’s U. S. Supreme Court nominee first hand.
He had a piece of the wild and wooly Jose “Joey Habie divorce case in the 1990s. One series of dozens of hearings ended up in Sotomayor’s Southern District of New York court.
Habie was a one of the world’s textile kings, operating a $500 million business from Guatemala. He was in the midst of a divorce from his wife Amy. The couple, in their 30s at the time of the divorce, fell in love at the University of Florida.
As in many divorces involving that much money, the litigation multiplied and involved many separate issues custody, alimony, child support and all kinds of other allegations. High priced investigators, slick public relations firms and a bevy of lawyers worked on the case, which lasted a decade.
Judges from Miami to Palm Beach to New York held hearings. At one point it became an international custody fight when Joey Habie was accused of kidnapping the couple’s two toddlers and hiding them in Guatemala behind a ring of Uzi-armed guards.
“We had a number of hearings in Habie in front of her, Entin recalls. “There were rulings back and forth. It was a wild case. An emotional case.
She kept her calm. She kept her cool. She was a great judge.
Although he was from South Florida and literally unknown in New York’s federal courthouse, he says, “We were treated fairly. It was like I was a member of the Southern District (of New York).
“What can I tell you? I got to see this judge under tremendous, tense litigation with lots of issues flying around, he says. “She handled it perfectly. She’ll make a great justice.
Although no longer general council, Entin, 63, remains a Broward Republican committee member. He was Broward general council in the 1990s and also was appointed by Gov. Jeb Bush to the state boxing commission.
Entin pointed out that what makes his wholehearted support of Sotomayor more unusual was her ruling in his case:
“She ruled against my client. . .fairly. She knew the law.