Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Sonia Sotomayor Hearings Day Two: Grassley

Senator Grassley and Sonia Sotomayor had an interesting dialogue on private property rights and the taking clause. As you should know, the Supreme Court narrowly upheld a Connecticut city's right to take private property from one owner in a "blighted" community in exchange for compensation and sell it to another private interest group for "public use."

I was not pleased by that ruling. Senator Grassley pointed to one case where she apparently dismissed a lawsuit from one New Yorker villager whose property was taken from him by the government for a private developer. She however attributed that dismissal to the villager's failure to file his claim on time. Statute of limitations. It seems as if the "blight" claim was dubious given that the owner who lost his property was going to build a CVS, which is a pharmacy Store and the land was taken to build a Walgreens (also a pharmacy store). The summary judgment affirming the district court's dismissal cited Kelo v. London as well as the statute of limitations. Sotomayor did not cite Kelo in her response to Senator Grassley which I found odd since that would buttress her case that she was merely following Supreme Court precedents.

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