Sen. Chuck Grassley Holds a Hearing on the Nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to Be an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court

CQ Transcriptions
Tuesday, July 14, 2009; 2:17 PM

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GRASSLEY: Welcome once again, Judge. I hope you had a good break. And I appreciate very much the opportunity to ask you some questions.

I'd like to start off my round with some questions about your understanding of individual property rights and how they're protected by the Constitution.

And let me say, as I observe property rights around the world, there's a big difference between developed nations and developing nations. And respect for private property has a great deal to do with the advancement of societies.

So I believe all Americans care about this right. They want to protect their homes and anything they own from unlawful taking by government. But this is also a right that is important for agricultural interests. As you know, besides being a senator, I come from an agricultural state in Iowa and am a farmer, as well.

I'm sure that ordinary Americans, besides the economic interests that might be involved, are all very well concerned about where you stand on property rights. So some of these issues have been discussed, but I want to go into a little more depth on Kelo as an example.

Could you explain what your understanding is of the state of the Fifth Amendment's taking cause jurisprudence after the Supreme Court decision in Kelo? Senator Brownback said this aptly when Chief Justice Roberts was before this committee: Quote, "Isn't it now the case that it is much easier for one man's home to become another man's castle?"

Your general understanding of the takings clause?

SOTOMAYOR: Good afternoon, Senator Grassley. And it's wonderful to see you again.

GRASSLEY: Thank you.

SOTOMAYOR: I share your view of the importance of property rights under the Constitution. As you know, I was a commercial litigator that represented national and international companies, and it wasn't even the case that it was a difference between developed and underdeveloped countries.

Many of my clients who were from developed countries chose to -- in part, to invest in the United States because of the respect that our Constitution pays to property rights in its various positions, in its various amendments.

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