Sonia Sotomayor and Eminent Domain Abuse


As Radley Balko recently noted, University of Chicago law professor Richard Epstein had some very critical things to say about Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor's role in Didden v. Village of Port Chester, the 2006 decision where the 2nd Circuit upheld an eminent domain taking that "involved about as naked an abuse of government power as could be imagined." (For the full, infuriating story of the case, see Radley Balko's "Official Extortion" from our April 2007 issue.)

In today's New York Times, Adam Liptak reports that Didden is very likely to come up during Sotomayor's confirmation hearings next month:

Bart Didden, the property owner on the losing side of that decision, Didden v. Village of Port Chester, said in an interview that he had been contacted by aides to Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee who seemed eager to explore Judge Sotomayor's views on property rights.

As Liptak notes, both John Roberts and Samuel Alito "broke with protocal and perhaps prudence at their confirmation hearings" by raising doubts about the Supreme Court's controversial 2005 eminent domain ruling in Kelo v. City of New London. It will certainly be interesting to hear what—if anything—Sotomayor has to say about eminent domain and the Takings Clause.