May 26th, 2009
06:40 PM ET
5 years ago

Sotomayor SCOTUS case history: Suing the federal government

WASHINGTON (CNN) - During Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor's 17 years as a federal judge, the U.S. Supreme Court has reviewed her decisions on at least eight occasions. CNN has reviewed those cases and has summarized each in a series of posts. The names and citations reflect the cases as they were known when they first came before Sotomayor.

Malesko v. Correctional Services Corp. (2000), 299 F.3d 374: Sotomayor, writing for the court in 2000, supported the right of an individual to sue a private corporation working on behalf of the federal government for alleged violations of that individual's constitutional rights. Reversing a lower court decision, Sotomayor found that an existing law, known as "Bivens" - which allows suits against individuals working for the federal government for constitutional rights violations - could be applied to the case of a former prisoner seeking to sue the private company operating the federal halfway house facility in which he resided. The Supreme Court reversed Sotomayor's ruling in a 5-4 decision, saying that the Bivens law could not be expanded to cover private entities working on behalf of the federal government. Justices Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg, and Breyer dissented, siding with Sotomayor's original ruling.


Filed under: Sonia Sotomayor • Supreme Court
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Mark

    Sotomayor voted out qualified applicants in the fire dept because there wasnt enough minorities that scored well.

    You know the same principal where she just got her job!!

    May 26, 2009 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  2. roy elliott

    Sotomayer is for affimation action!!!!Why should a student be given favoritism for entrance in schools ,just because they are a minority !!!!

    May 26, 2009 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  3. Enough Already!!!!

    CNN Political Research Director Robert Yoon you sure are busy today
    All about Sonia Sotomayor

    May 26, 2009 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  4. John H

    Sounds like a woman we don't need sitting on our highest court!

    May 26, 2009 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  5. New Yorker

    "The Supreme Court reversed Sotomayor's ruling in a 5-4 decision, saying that the Bivens law could not be expanded to cover private entities working on behalf of the federal government. "

    And the Supreme Court was correct. "Expanding" the law is a form of changing the law. It is evident, in this case alone, that Sotomayor did not intend to uphold the existing law but, rather, change it. Further proof that she is an activist and does not/would not judge wisely.Bice try Mr. President but the country deserves impartial justices not political activists

    May 26, 2009 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  6. Retired US Army Officer - Kansas

    Imagine a ruling that would say a federal contractor could be sued, hmmm, KBR electrocutor of soldiers, Haliburton, the swindlers of all. Imagine .............how unAmerican, to have the right to holders of federal contracts accountable for their actions.

    May 26, 2009 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |