Sotomayor and “Secret Law”

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Posted: Jul 14, 2009 3:25 PM
Guest post from Ilya Shapiro

Sotomayor didn’t have much to say in response to Senator Feingold’s inquiries regarding national security law and civil liberties post-9/11, but the Wisconsin lawmaker’s questions about “secret law”—on which he didn’t press the nominee’s non-answers—made me think of the following: Both Ricci (the infamous firefighters race discrimination case) and Didden (the property rights violation case I mentioned in my previous post) were “unpublished” summary dispositions.  If Sotomayor had not been nominated to the Supreme Court, causing hundreds if not thousands of lawyers to comb through her judicial opinions, would anyone have uncovered these blatant attempts to sweep controversial legal issues under the rug?  Are Ricci and Didden Sotomayor’s secret law?

Ilya Shapiro is Senior Fellow in Constitutional Studies at the Cato Institute and Editor-in-Chief, Cato Supreme Court Review