The case(s) against Judge Sotomayor

Yesterday I explained my reasons for opposing the confirmation of Judge Sonia Sotomayor as a Supreme Court Justice on philosophical grounds. This morning, the Heritage Foundation’s Foundry blog provides three cases ruled on by Judge Sotomayor that should at the least trouble any thoughtful observer concerned about the Constitution and the equal application of the law:

Equal Opportunity: In Ricci v. Destefano, Sotomayor joined an unsigned opinion rejecting a lawsuit from a group of firefighters who claimed the city of New Haven, Connecticut violated their civil rights by invalidating the results of a test administered to fill 15 captain and lieutenant vacancies. The lead plaintiff, Frank Ricci, battled dyslexia and spent months studying for the test, which he passed, but because no African-American firefighters passed he was denied a promotion. Sotomayor’s curt rejection of Ricci’s claims prompted President Bill Clinton appointed Second Circuit Judge Jose Cabranes to write: “The opinion contains no reference whatsoever to the constitutional claims at the core of this case. This perfunctory disposition rests uneasily with the weighty issues presented by this appeal.”

Second Amendment: In Maloney v. Cuomo, Sotomayor joined an opinion holding that “it is settled law” that the Second Amendment only limits federal, and not state, gun control laws. Even the famously liberal Ninth Circuit reached the opposite conclusion last month in Nordyke v. King.

Property Rights: In Didden v. Village of Port Chester, Sotomayor joined an unsigned opinion affirming Port Chester’s condemnation of land which plaintiff Bart Didden planned to build a pharmacy on. Didden had been approached by a politically connected developer who demanded either $800,000 from Didden or 50% stake in his pharmacy. When Didden did not comply, Port Chester condemned the land the very next day through eminent domain.

That last is even worse than the abominable Kelo decision. It’s clear that Judge Sotomayor has no regard for the property rights of the individual and may indeed be bigoted against White plaintiffs. These three cases should be explored thoroughly in the committee and the judge compelled to explain her reasoning. That may be impossible in the Ricci case, however, since that may well be going to the Supreme Court. Thus, it would be inappropriate for her to comment on it. It should still be raised by the Senators, however.

Again, I think these cases, when combined with her public statements on the role and conduct of judges, should disqualify her from serving on the Supreme Court.

RELATED: Jonah Goldberg looks at the difference between "empathy" and "activism" and argues Ricci was a racist, reactionary decision. Rich Lowry calls it a bad day for impartiality.


2 Responses to The case(s) against Judge Sotomayor

  1. Matt Goodman says:

    Better! But dig a little deeper.
    Didden: They filed late. Yes, that makes a difference. Also, you have to keep in mind that the case comes to the appeals level AFTER a trial at the local level. The Appeals court didn’t overturn the initial finding, and the SCOTUS declined to hear the case. So this is actually an example of her following the rule of law and NOT being an activist judge.
    I don’t like the result, but I don’t see a problem with how it was handled.
    Maloney: Again, while I don’t like with the result, I understand the logic. Nordyke incorporating the 2nd Amendment was actually was a step forward that the courts hadn’t taken until that point. See:
    for more info on that. Again, she wasn’t making law the way the judges in Nordyke were.
    Ricci though? I’d definitely like to see what she has to say about that.
    If you’re going to read anything into Maloney or Didden, it isn’t that she’s an activist or that she’s using empathy instead of following the law: if anything she may be following the law too closely, and that is one oof the knocks on her (that she’s keyed on technicalities and procedural issues). I keep up with 2nd Amendment and Eminent Domain stuff, but hiring discrimination isn’t really on my radar.
    Honestly, I was pleasantly surprised by this pick. For the stuff of hers I’ve seen, she’s very rule-of-law. I thought Obama would pick somebody like Alan Dershowitz or Deval Patrick.

  2. Bart Didden says:

    Matt Goodman may ask that you dig deep, but he has not.
    There was not trail at the district level, we were swept away before any discovery even occurred. The problem all began at the district court and was an easy out for Sotomayor after 54 weeks of deliberation.
    The big question here is when was I harmed, in July 1999 or November 2003?
    The demand by a private person to extort 800,000 from me occurred in Nov 2003 and my lawsuit started within 12 weeks.
    How was I supposed to know in 1999 that I was going to be offered by a private person that with a payment to private person can stop a government action?
    Maybe you can look at it like this, your stopped for speeding, standing next to your car is the cop with the ticket book and a private person who is the cops friend and you are offered the following – Take the ticket or pay my friend.
    Where is this activity protected in our laws?

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