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Sotomayor Took $3M From Book Publisher, Didn’t Recuse From Its Cases: Report

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


The Democrats have started a crusade against Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and gifts he supposedly accepted from a billionaire friend, but it appears that a far bigger scandal has hit one of their favorite Justices.

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor was paid millions of dollars from book publisher Penguin Random House and then sat on cases that involved the company, The Daily Wire reported.

“In 2010, she got a $1.2 million book advance from Knopf Doubleday Group, a part of the conglomerate. In 2012, she reported receiving two advance payments from the publisher totaling $1.9 million,” it said.

“In 2013, Sotomayor voted in a decision for whether the court should hear a case against the publisher called Aaron Greenspan v. Random House, despite then-fellow Justice Stephen Breyer recusing after also receiving money from the publisher. Greenspan was a Harvard classmate of Mark Zuckerberg’s who wrote a book about the founding of Facebook and contended that Random House rejected his book proposal and then awarded a deal to another author who copied his book and eventually turned it into the movie The Social Network,” the report said.

“In 2017, Sotomayor began receiving payments each year from Penguin Random House itself, which continued annually through at least 2021, the most recent disclosure available, and totaled more than $500,000. In all, she received $3.6 million from Penguin Random House or its subsidiaries, according to a Daily Wire tally of financial disclosures,” it said.

“In October 2019, children’s author Jennie Nicassio petitioned the Supreme Court to hear her lawsuit against Penguin Random House alleging that the book publisher had copied her book by selling one that was nearly identical. On the same day that the petition was distributed to the justices, Sotomayor received a $10,586 check from the publisher,” it said.

The court denied the “writ of certiorari” in February 2020 which meant that the lower court’s decision in favor of the publisher would remain in place.

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The very next month the publisher’s parent company gave Justice Sotomayor her largest check ever from them for $82,807.

It is not known how Justice Sotomayor voted but it is known that she did not recuse herself from the case, as Justice Breyer did again.

Justice Breyer repeatedly recused himself from cases involving the publisher even though the amount her received from them during that time period was one-tenth of what Justice Sotomayor did, or $340,000.

Justice Sotomayor received the overwhelming part of her non-Supreme Court income from the publisher, with it even footing the bill for her to appear at speaking engagements.

“So Liberal SCOTUS Justice Sotomayor took over $3 million from Penguin Random House and didn’t recuse herself from multiple copyright cases involving the publisher—with rulings that sided in favor of Random House and saved them mountains of $$—even though Justice Breyer did recuse himself while getting paid far less by the same publisher. Given the breathless coverage over contrived controversies involving Justices Thomas and Gorsuch, it’s great to see solid conservative reporting punching back and giving the left a taste of its own medicine,” conservative podcast host Charlie Kirk said on Twitter.

“Sonia Sotomayor received over $3 million for her books from Penguin Random House publishing and then didn’t recuse herself from a case in which they were involved before SCOTUS where the company stood to lose money. What did Clarence Thomas do again?” Greg Price said.

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“WOW – Justice Sotomayor took $3M from Random House and voted on a key decision where the publisher stood to lose money, even as similarly-positioned colleague recused. Wait until Politico hears about this,” Matt Whitlock said, referring to the website that broke the Justice Thomas story.

But liberal activist Ed Krassenstein defended Justice Sotomayor and pointed out that Justice Neil Gorsuch also had a business relationship with the publisher.

“The allegations against Clarence Thomas and Harlan Crow are definitely not the same as the attacks being made on Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Yes, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor did write a book and she published it through Penguin Random House, as did Justice Gorsuch. Yes, she did make a fortune,” the activist said.

“No, she did not recuse herself from cases involving the publisher. Neither did Gorsuch. Yes, this information was declared. No, there is no rule saying that a judge must recuse themselves from unrelated cases involving a publisher they used. Some judges have recused themselves in these situations, while others have not,” he said.

“This is not the same as receiving money from a large political donor and then hiding it by not declaring it, like Thomas allegedly did. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this comparison being made mostly by the right,” he said.

And he is correct, they are not the same, Crow had no business before the court that we are aware of, and Penguin Random House did.

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