Judge Sonia Sotomayor on Arbitration


[Ed. note: Obama nominated Sotomayor on May 26; see Hispanic National Bar Association Press Release]

Ever since U.S. Supreme Court Justice David Souter revealed his plan to retire, speculation of possible President Barack Obama‘s picks to replace him has flooded the blogosphere. SCOTUSblog has been profiling the “shortlist” candidates with an analysis of their opinions that intersect the Supreme Court’s decisions. Here is an excerpt of today’s SCOTUSblog post on Judge Sonia Sotomayor‘s civil opinions. This one involves arbitration.

Rolon v. Henneman, 517 F.3d 140 (2d Cir. 2008): As part of a settlement alleging that the acting police chief (among others) had violated an officer’s constitutional due process rights, the parties agreed to submit pending disciplinary charges to arbitration. Both the acting chief, Henneman, and another officer, Moskowitz, testified at the arbitration hearing. The arbitrator ruled largely in Rolon’s favor, concluding that neither Henneman nor Moscowitz had testified truthfully or credibly. Rolon then filed suit against the two, claiming that they had caused him anguish, abused their positions, and violated his right to due process. The district court agreed with Henneman that he was entitled to absolute immunity, and the Second Circuit – in an opinion by Judge Sotomayor – affirmed. In the panel’s view, the Supreme Court’s decision in Briscoe v. LaHue, 460 U.S. 325 (1983), providing absolute immunity to police officers who testify at judicial proceedings, applies equally to an arbitrationproceeding such as this one, in which Henneman “performed substantially the same function as witnesses in judicial proceedings with nearly identical procedural safeguards.” Moreover, the panel agreed, Rolon had failed to state a claim against Moscowitz.

The full post is here: Judge Sotomayor’s Civil Opinions – Part IV.

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