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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:
The Supreme Court has made clear that the government is free to favor the anti-abortion position over the pro-choice position.
Center for Reproductive Law and Policy v. Bush (2002)

Sotomayor denied a claim brought by an abortion rights group challenging the "Mexico City Policy" prohibiting foreign organizations receiving U.S. funds from performing or supporting abortions.  |  Read the opinion (pdf)

Affirmative action
Although the city acted out of concern that certifying the exam results would have an adverse impact on minority candidates and although, as the panel noted in its decision, the result was understandably frustrating for applicants who passed the test the city's response, to decline to certify any of the exams, was facially race-neutral.
Ricci v. DeStefano (2008)

Sotomayor and the other two judges upheld the decision by a lower court to dismiss a lawsuit by New Haven firefighter Frank Ricci and others that claimed the city's decision to scrap a promotions test for firefighters after the results showed no African Americans qualified for advancement violated federal law and their constitutional rights.   |  Read the opinion (pdf)

Eminent domain
While a legislature may juggle many policy considerations in deciding whether to condemn private property, judicial review of the final legislative decision to exercise the power of eminent domain focuses exclusively on whether or not the taking is for a public use. In addition to the narrow scope of judicial review, a long line of Supreme Court cases have 'defined [the concept of public use] broadly, reflecting [the Court's] longstanding policy of deference to legislative judgments in this field.' The combination of those factors the narrow scope of issues and the broad deference to the legislature suggests that the role of the courts in enforcing the constitutional limitations on eminent domain is one of patrolling the borders. That which falls within the boundaries of acceptability is not subject to review."
Brody v. Village of Port Chester (2005)

Sotomayor ruled with the majority that the Village of Port Chester violated a property owner's due process rights by failing to give adequate notice of his right to challenge the determination that his land should be used for a redevelopment project. Nevertheless, the panel supported the right of the government to take property for public use.   |   Read the opinion (pdf)

First Amendment
I find the speech in this case patently offensive, hateful, and insulting. The Court should not, however, gloss over three decades of jurisprudence and the centrality of First Amendment freedoms in our lives because it is confronted with speech it does not like and because a government employer fears a potential public response that it alone precipitated.
Pappas v. Giuliani (2002)

Sotomayor dissented from a majority ruling in a case over whether the New York City Police Department could fire an employee who responded to requests for charitable contributions with mailings of racist and bigoted material. The majority ruled that the NYPD could terminate the employee without violating his First Amendment rights.   |  Read the opinion and Sotomayor's dissent

Gun rights
It is settled law . . . that the Second Amendment applies only to limitations the federal government seeks to impose on this right.
Maloney v. Cuomo (2009)

Sotomayor was a member of a panel that affirmed a lower court's ruling that a New York state law prohibiting possession of a device used in martial arts consisting of two sticks joined by a rope or chain did not violate a New York lawyer's Second Amendment right on the ground that the Second Amendment does not apply to states.   |   Read the opinion (pdf)

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