In the Words of Sonia Sotomayor

Friday, June 5, 2009

Columbia Law School, 1999:

"It is all too easy as a prosecutor to feel the pain and suffering of victims and to forget that defendants, despite whatever illegal act they have committed, however despicable their acts may have been, the defendants are human beings who have families and people who care for and love them. Appreciating this fact does not excuse reprehensible behavior but it at least opens the door to understanding, and that is a step toward justice."

Women's Bar Association of the state of New York, 1999:

"Whether born from experience or inherent physiological differences . . . our gender makes and will make a difference in our judging. In short, I accept the proposition that a difference will be made by the presence of women on the bench and that my experiences will affect the facts that I choose to see as a judge. I simply do not know exactly what that difference will be in my judging, but I accept there will be some based on my gender and the experiences it has imposed on me."

Introduction of Justice Antonin Scalia at Hofstra Law School, 2001:

"I understand Justice Scalia's jurisprudence to begin with a proposition that we should all agree to: namely, that judges should try to interpret the law correctly and without personal or political bias. He has, however, become one of the most important and outspoken proponents of the idea that following this norm requires the adoption of a particular interpretive methodology, namely that of formalism and plain meaning. . . . I do not mean to suggest -- and the justice will be the first to agree with me on this one -- that any of these thoughts are uncontroversial."

Cardozo School of Law, 2002:

"I do not live in the Latina world of my youth -- instead I have a lovely apartment in a yuppie neighborhood of Manhattan. I have worked in job environments that have been challenging, stimulating and engrossing, but none of them are controlled by Latinos. As accomplished as I have been in my professional settings, I am always looking over my shoulder wondering if I measure up and always concerned that I have to work harder to succeed. This is a pathology of successful Latinos and other accomplished individuals who come from economically deprived populations."

New York University, 2009:

"I hope that it does not take a grand historical event like the presidential election of a person of color to remind us that the differences we project onto others and which so often alienate us from each other are superficial and not terribly meaningful."

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