Liberal Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor Reveals Tears Over Conservative Rulings: “There are Likely to Be More”

Liberal Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor Reveals Tears Over Conservative Rulings: "There are Likely to Be More"
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Lib­er­al Supreme Court Jus­tice Sonia Sotomay­or has revealed her emo­tion­al response to the con­ser­v­a­tive-major­i­ty court’s rul­ings, admit­ting that she some­times cries over deci­sions that she believes erode lib­er­al values.

Speak­ing at Har­vard’s Rad­cliffe Insti­tute on Fri­day, Sotomay­or, 69, acknowl­edged the court’s right­ward shift, par­tic­u­lar­ly in light of the land­mark Roe v. Wade over­turn. “There are days that I’ve come to my office after an announce­ment of a case and closed my door and cried,” she confessed.

Sotomay­or, one of three remain­ing Demo­c­rat-appoint­ed jus­tices along­side Ele­na Kagan and Ketan­ji Brown Jack­son, warned that the trend of con­ser­v­a­tive rul­ings is like­ly to con­tin­ue. “There have been those days. And there are like­ly to be more,” she stated.

While Sotomay­or did not spec­i­fy which cas­es had brought her to tears, she acknowl­edged the intense emo­tions that arise after cer­tain judg­ments. “There are moments when I’m deeply, deeply sad. There are moments when, yes, even I feel des­per­a­tion. We all do,” she said. “But you have to own it, you have to accept it, you have to shed the tears and then you have to wipe them and get up.”

Sotomay­or’s emo­tion­al admis­sion comes amid grow­ing calls for her retire­ment, fueled by con­cerns that the con­ser­v­a­tive major­i­ty could expand to 7–2 if for­mer Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump or Sen­ate Repub­li­cans are suc­cess­ful in appoint­ing more justices.

In March, jour­nal­ist Josh Bar­ro penned an op-ed in The Atlantic urg­ing Pres­i­dent Joe Biden and oth­er Democ­rats to push Sotomay­or to step down while the White House and Sen­ate remain in Demo­c­ra­t­ic hands. Bar­ro argued that Democ­rats risk los­ing con­trol of the court for a gen­er­a­tion if they fail to act.

While White House press sec­re­tary Karine Jean-Pierre has stat­ed that the deci­sion to retire is “a per­son­al deci­sion for her to make,” Sotomay­or’s emo­tion­al response to the court’s recent rul­ings has added fuel to the debate.

Sotomay­or’s appoint­ment by Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma in 2009 made his­to­ry as the coun­try’s first Lati­na jus­tice. How­ev­er, some argue that iden­ti­ty pol­i­tics should not pre­vent Democ­rats from pri­or­i­tiz­ing the court’s bal­ance over sym­bol­ic representation.

The future of the Supreme Court remains uncer­tain, but Sotomay­or’s emo­tion­al response high­lights the pro­found impact of the court’s deci­sions on indi­vid­u­als and soci­ety as a whole.

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