Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sotomayor's Three Strikes

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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Swilliams said...

The there's Maloney v. Cuomo where she opines the states are not bound by the Second Amendment only the Fed.

Her record includes 5 out of 6 decisions being overturned.

She has neither an impressive track record nor the judicial temperament to sit on the High Court.

Luci said...

Whether we like it or not, eminent domain has been on the books for a long time and unless you wanted her to change the law she couldn't have held the village responsible. Didden should have sued Wasser for corruption. For the second case, the slander of school officials is not covered under free speench, in fact it is a crime.

And the third case, well I don't see how much of a role she may have had in this panel. Considering the case was already heard and decided upon, the panel may have felt they didn't have anything to add to the opinion of the lower court.

As far as the case itself, I would want to know if this was a government run group of firefighters or private contractors. If they were private contractors, upholding the suit could have major implications in how far the government can reach into the private hiring practices of a business or organization. Ruling in favor of the firefighters would mean a whole slew of legislation could be made to dictate the hiring and promoting practices of a business. On the otherhand, if it was purely government run then it would need some looking into for the local government and state legislature, and some consenses would need to be made as to the validity of quasi affirmative action practices in that locality.

But for the panel, and Sotomayor, not to issue another opinion upholding the previous ruling is hardly what I would call activism. To be an activist you have to actually try to change something.

Anonymous said...


I think Sotomayor's selection to the high court is a good decision on the part of the Obama administration and reflective of their views. They won the election, they get to nominate liberal leaning justices to the supreme court.

As for the Republican opposition to her appointment, I can't but find myself perplexed by the quasi-effort. If you disagree with her views, then vote against her selection. However, as I just read for the umpteenth time, if you are going to support her because you think it will garner more Hispanic votes - please don't.

Rick Beagle

Anonymous said...

I thought the women of Smart Girls Politics would like to see this from Crooks and Liars:

After echoing Tom Tancredo's slander that the National Council of La Raza to which Sotomayor belongs is a "Latino KKK," Liddy Thursday recycled Gingrich's theory of menstrual disqualification:

"Let's hope that the key conferences aren't when she's menstruating or something, or just before she's going to menstruate. That would really be bad. Lord knows what we would get then."

If that pathetic formula sounds familiar, it should. As the New York Times recounted 14 years ago, Newt suggested menstruation should keep women out of essential roles in the American military, if not off the onAgain, no one is flustered just because you disagree with a view or a thousand, but imho, generalizations of this sort are demeaning to all women. I do not understand how the Republican leadership is allowed to say things like this without some sort of sharp retort from their female leadership. But what do I know?

Rick Beagle

Swilliams said...

Women her age do not menstruate - give it up.

commoncents said...

Great post - keep up the excellent work!!

ps. Link Exchange??

Bravo33 said...

"But what do I know?" - Beagle

Apparently nothing.

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