Liberal Justice Sotomayor Says Some Decisions by Her Conservative Colleagues on the Supreme Court Left Her in Tears

‘There have been those days. And there are likely to be more,’ she says at an event at Harvard University.

AP/Jeff Roberson, file
Justice Sonia Sotomayor on April 5, 2022, at Washington University at St. Louis. AP/Jeff Roberson, file

Justice Sonia Sotomayor says she sometimes cries after the Supreme Court issues its decisions, and that it is “likely” she will be crying more in the future because of her colleagues. 

The disclosure comes at the campus of Harvard University, where she was given an award by Radcliffe College at the school’s annual Radcliffe Day on Friday. She asked participants to be more engaged in civic life before telling them about her difficulties with the current conservative supermajority on the court. 

“There are days that I’ve come to my office after an announcement of a case, closed my door, and cried,” Justice Sotomayor said to the assembled crowd. “There have been those days. And there are likely to be more.”

She told students that there will be days when they, too, cry about some injustice in the world, but that it is their responsibility to go back to work nonetheless. She also said that she personally feels “desperation” because of the current state of America. 

“Throughout our history, men and women have given up their lives to secure our freedom and to promote our equality,” the justice said. “There is no one in this room who’s entitled to give up now.”

“Even I feel desperation. We all do,” she continued. “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.”

Later in her speech, Justice Sotomayor said it was the failings of her generation that will inspire a new generation of leaders left in dire circumstances. “We are leaving our kids a world filled with two wars, climate challenges, healthcare challenges, you name it,” Justice Sotomayor said. “The younger generation has to be inspired to do a better job.”

Her remarks come at a time when the Supreme Court is poised to issue a number of landmark decisions that could impact everything from abortion rights to the Second Amendment to the 2024 election. 

In one pointed dissent last year in the case of a Colorado website designer who did not want to create a wedding site for a gay couple, Justice Sotomayor said her conservative colleagues brought about a “sad day” for constitutional law by allowing the designer to refuse the request for religious and First Amendment reasons. 

In another case last year, Justice Sotomayor penned a dissent in Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard, which found that racial considerations in college admissions were not constitutional. She wrote at the time that her colleagues were believing in an “illusion” that racial discrimination “was a problem of a different generation.”

The New York Sun

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