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Sotomayor on the Issues


How U.S. Appeals Court Judge Sonia
Sotomayor of New York has ruled
on a handful of controversial subjects:
Whether a trucking company refused to hire applicants for long-distance truck routes because it regarded them as disabled under the Americans with Disabilities Act
Based upon a list of drugs and their potential side effects...and a Medical Guidelines policy developed by...a former Red Lobster cashier with no medical training who was, nevertheless, Huntís Medical Advisor, Hunt determined that certain applicants were unfit to be truck drivers....Beyond this basic misconception, the majority also misrepresents the record by asserting that the evidence Ďdoes not indicate that Hunt perceived the applicants as more broadly limited
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. J. B. Hunt Transport Inc., 2003

The commission sued J.B. Hunt, saying it violated the ADA. A federal judge dismised the lawsuit, ruling the applicants were not disabled under the ADA and werenít hired because they used prescription medications that might impair their driving. A 2nd Circuit panel agreed. Sotomayor dissented, saying there was ďampleĒ evidence the applicants were disabled under the ADA.   |  Read the opinion

Whether police searched an apartment for drugs in violation of the occupants' constitutional rights.
Today the majority takes the unprecedented step of holding that police officers do not violate the Fourth Amendmentís protection of the home when they seize an individual standing inside his or her home without a warrant... The majority reaches this extraordinary result by holding that the expectation of privacy of an individual standing dozens of feet inside his or her home with an open door is the same as that of an individual standing on a public street.
U.S. v. Gori, 2000

Officers ordered the occupants into the hall when they opened the door for a food delivery and searched the apartment. A judge threw out the seized evidence, saying they didnít have a warrant. A 2nd Circuit panel reversed that decision, saying officers acted reasonably. Sotomayor dissented.   |  Read the opinion

Whether family members of victims of the crash of TWA Flight 800 were able to sue for emotional damages in addition to economic ones.
The majority had ďan understandable desire to provide the relatives and estate representatives of...victims...with a "more generous" recovery...The majorityís conclusion is also contrary to the holdings and dicta of every other court that has considered this issue.íí
In Re: Air Crash off Long Island, New York, 2000

Family members filed a wrongful death lawsuit against TWA and Boeing Corp. A federal judge denied a motion to dismiss their claims for non-economic damages such as survivorís grief. A 2nd Circuit panel upheld that decision. Sotomayor dissented.  |   Read the opinion

Whether a defendantís drug conviction and sentence should be overturned
After a detailed review of the record, we conclude that Bryce has sustained his burden. The prosecution introduced no powder cocaine, residue or paraphernalia; no eyewitness testimony or video surveillance evidence putting Bryce (or someone with him) in possession of cocaine.
U.S. v. Ewan Bryce, 2000

A jury found Bryce guility of conspiracy and possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. In a decision written by Sotomayor, a 2nd Circuit panel upheld the conspiracy count but overturned the possession conviction and sent the case back for re-sentencing.   |  Read the opinion

Whether a defendantís firearms sentence should be overturned.
Any error in calculating Blackburnís Guidelines sentence was not harmless and...Blackburnís claim is not moot.
U.S. v. Wesley Blackburn

Blackburn appealed his 37-month sentence for being a felon in possession of a firearm, which was nine months below the low end of the range recommended by federal sentencing guidelines. A 2nd Circuit panel upheld the sentence, saying the appeal was moot because the defendant had already served it. Sotomayor dissented.   |   Read the opinion

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