Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, a left-wing justice nominated by Barack Obama, repeatedly refused to recuse herself from cases involving the publishing company that paid her millions to publish her own books.
According to the Daily Wire, Sotomayor was paid $3.1 million by Penguin Random House over the course of two years; in 2010, she was paid $1.2 million by Knopf Doubleday Group, part of Random House’s conglomerate, and then received two separate advance payments in 2012, which amounted to $1.9 million when combined. These payments have made Penguin Random House her single largest source of income.
Despite this, Sotomayor did not recuse herself when making a decision in the 2013 case of Aaron Greenspan v. Random House. In the case, Greenspan – an author who was classmates with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg while at Harvard – alleged that his proposed book about the founding of Facebook was rejected by Random House, only for the company to then grant a book deal to another author who copied his idea and then turned it into the successful movie “The Social Network” in 2010.
During that case, then-Justice Stephen Breyer, a fellow left-wing justice, did ultimately recuse himself due to receiving payments from the publisher in the past. Sotomayor, however, did not recuse herself despite doing the same thing.
In 2017, Sotomayor began receiving additional payments directly from Random House, which ultimately lasted until 2021 and totaled $500,000, thus bringing her final total amount from the publisher to $3.6 million over the course of 11 years.
In another case in October of 2019, the Supreme Court declined to hear the case of children’s author Jennie Nicassio, who sued Random House after the publisher allegedly began selling a book that was nearly identical to one of her own. In declining to hear the case, the Court ultimately affirmed the ruling of a circuit court which had ruled in Random House’s favor. Sotomayor once again did not recuse herself in the vote to decline Nicassio’s case, even though Breyer once again did recuse himself.
Sotomayor has written five books since becoming a justice, starting with her memoir My Beloved World in 2013. All five were published by Penguin Random House or one of its subsidiaries, with the most recent one, Just Help! How to Build a Better World, being published in 2022.