The Volokh Conspiracy

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What Do Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Stephen Field Have In Common?


Both of their bodyguards shot someone.

Last week, a Deputy U.S. Marshall, assigned to protect Justice Sotomayor, shot a carjacker:

 A member of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor's security detail shot an armed man during an attempted carjacking in the early morning hours, according to court documents.

It happened as two deputy U.S. Marshals were on duty in a government car in Washington, D.C., about 1 a.m. on July 5. They were confronted by a man who got out of a silver minivan and pointed a gun at one of them through the driver's side window, according to a criminal complaint. The car was unmarked but the pair were dressed in U.S. Marshals shirts.

The deputy pulled out his department-issued gun and shot the man about four times, hitting him in the mouth. He then gave the man first aid while the minivan drove away, charges state. The suspect was hospitalized and placed under arrest on suspicion of attempted carjacking and resisting officers.

In 1889, the Attorney General appointed David Neagle, a Deputy U.S. Marshall, to serve as Justice Stephen Field's bodyguard. Neagle fatally shot a man while the Justice was riding circuit in California. No actual statute authorized the Attorney General to appoint the bodyguard. But in In Re Neagle, the Supreme Court held that the Attorney General could rely on the President's obligation to take care that the laws are faithfully executed.

This might be one of the few things Sotomayor and Field have in common. I suspect that Sotomayor would not agree with Field's concurrence in Bradwell v. Illinois.