The National Law Journal's Marcia Coyle reports on recent studies seeking to measure "judicial activism" by federal appellate judges, and what those studies conclude about Sonia Sotomayor. Based upon these studies, Judge Sotomayor does not appear to be particularly "activist" compared to other judges across a wide range of cases. Of course, in this area, much may depend on how one defines the term, and it is conceivable a judge could confine his or her "activism" to a confined set of cases or subject matter.
Coyle summarizes the conclusions of Frank Cross and Stephanie Lindquist in a second story here. There research is based upon their book, Measuring Judicial Activism, which Stephen Griffin wrote about here. Corey Yung also has a series of blog posts reporting his methodology and preliminary results at Concurring Opinions in this series of posts: 1, 2, 3, and 4.