Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor says she cries after some decisions

by Vern Evans

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Liberal Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor has revealed that she is sometimes brought to tears in her chambers after some decisions have been handed down.

Sotomayor, 69, made the revelation during a talk at Harvard University’s Radcliffe Institute on Friday, where she was given an award.

“There are days that I’ve come to my office after an announcement of a case and closed my door and cried,” Sotomayor said. 

“There have been those days. And there are likely to be more.” 


The justice did not say what cases she was specifically referring to, but the court has made several landmark decisions in recent years that have been viewed as big wins for conservatives, including the landmark 2022 Dobbs abortion decision. The Court struck down New York’s prior concealed carry law in June 2022 that required an individual to prove “proper cause” existed before a license would be issued to carry.

Sotomayor’s gloom about future decisions indicates there may be more big wins for conservatives in the coming weeks as the court closes out this term. The Court is expected to rule on former President Donald Trump’s immunity case, along with two abortion cases. The Court is also set to decide whether prosecutors may use a federal obstruction statute to charge rioters involved in the Capitol attack on January 6, 2021.

“There are moments when I’m deeply, deeply sad,” Sotomayor continued. “There are moments when, yes, even I feel desperation.” 

“We all do. 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,” she said.


Abortion demonstration at Supreme Court following Roe v. Wade ruling

Sotomayor’s remarks came at the end of a public chat with Martha Minow, a former dean of Harvard Law School and human rights scholar.

The court has firmly shifted to the right in recent years after former President Trump appointed three justices to the court during his one term.

Conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch replaced the late conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, and Justice Brett Kavanaugh replaced retiring conservative Justice Anthony Kennedy. Justice Amy Coney Barrett was Trump’s final pick – succeeding left-wing heroine Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg – although President Biden was able to appoint Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson to replace Justice Stephen Breyer.

Sotomayor, whose parents are Puerto Rican and who is the first Latina to serve on the Supreme Court, urged optimism and a focus on future generations.

She was nominated to the court in 2008 by former President Barack Obama and is one of three Democrat-appointed judges on the court alongside Jackson and Justice Elena Kagan.

While the court is viewed as having a right-leaning 6-3 majority, all nine justices were in agreement earlier this year in a ruling that the 14th Amendment does not allow states to strip presidential candidates from the ballot, rejecting the state of Colorado’s attempt to keep the former President Trump off their presidential ballot for this year’s election.

supreme court justices new session

There have been calls in recent months, including in op-eds such as the one published in the Atlantic, that Sotomayor should retire under the Biden administration. The recent push for the justice to resign comes ahead of the presidential election, with left-leaning pundits and academics arguing that President Biden and the Democrat-controlled Senate could approve a candidate before the presidential election. 

Sotomayor was born the same year as Brown v. Board of Education. She grew up in a housing project in the Bronx in New York City and was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at age 8. 

She was in the majority that upheld the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) twice. 

Fox News’ Emma Colton contributed to this report.

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