A Post Graphic and Editorial on Judge Sotomayor's Nomination

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Post was misleading in presenting Judge Sonia Sotomayor's views on property rights ["Sonia Sotomayor: On the Issues," May 27]. Under the heading "controversial subjects," The Post listed a 2005 eminent domain case, Brody v. Village of Port Chester, as demonstrating Sotomayor's support for "the right of the government to seize property for public use."

Given the wording of the Fifth Amendment, which itself affirms this power, Sotomayor's support for it is hardly "controversial." Further, the opinion quoted in the article was written by a different judge. Sotomayor merely signed on to the decision, which, as the article said, declared that New York's eminent domain law violated this property owner's rights. The quoted language about the government's general power to condemn property was only a caveat.

Sotomayor did write a 2003 opinion in this same case, which allowed the property owner's constitutional claims to go forward, but The Post did not report that. Instead, it turned a case in which Sotomayor agreed that the government had violated a citizen's rights into a "controversial" case in which she "supported the right of the government to seize property for public use." This is political spin at its finest.

-- Daniel Schramm



In Post editorial-page style, the May 27 editorial "The President's Pick" went from "There is much to admire" to "Senators are right to closely scrutinize Judge Sotomayor's philosophy and qualifications" and "Senators also should remember that Mr. Obama, like any president, is entitled to deference in choosing a justice."

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