By: Laura Adelmann
Sonia Sotomayor is Obama's nominee to replace Justice Souter. The opportune announcement allows us a little more insight into what Obama values and gives us the chance to focus in on Sotomayor's views. Obama claims he was looking for empathy in his nominee. He seems more interested in her life story than in what she stands for as a judge. In my opinion, she has three glaring strikes against her. Didden v. Village of Port Chester, Doninger v. Niehoff and Ricci v. DeStefano.
In Didden v. Village of Port Chester the Second Circuit addressed the case of a taking of property by the village of Port Chester. Didden owned a parcel of property in a redevelopment district which was overseen by Wasser. When Didden requested permission to develop his property as a CVS pharmacy, Wasser demanded $800,000 or a partnership interest or he would condemn the property and take it for the village. When Didden did not meet these demands, the village did take the property and built a Walgreens. The Second Circuit upheld the taking. This expansive view of the government's right to take private property puts even Kelo to shame.
Doninger v. Niehoff dealt with a student's First Amendment rights. Doninger was running for student council when she objected to the school administration's cancellation of "Jamfest" calling the administrators "douchebags" on her livejournal. The school refused to let her run for student council based on her comments and ignored write-in votes she received. The Second Circuit ignored the First Amendment implications and felt that the administrators were correct to punish private speech. This speech was made outside of school, but that mattered little.
Finally, in Ricci v. DeStefano Sotomayor joined in an unsigned opinion that upheld the lower court's ruling without touching on the constitutional issues raised by the case. Frank Ricci and several other firefighters filed suit after the New Haven fire department refused to certify the results of an exam because no African Americans had passed to be promoted. The Second Circuit upheld what amounts to reverse discrimination.
Sonia Sotomayor may have an admirable past. She may have the right background in Obama's eyes, but from the decisions she's supported, she clearly is no defender of the Constitution. She's an activist with an agenda and anyone who believes in property rights, free speech or opposes discrimination should be concerned about Sotomayor's nomination.
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