Supreme Courtroom Justice Sonia Sotomayor talks life — and a bit of poker — at Washington U | Regulation and order

By Dana Rieck
St. Louis Submit-Dispatch

ST. LOUIS — Even because the contentious battle to substantiate the nation’s first Black feminine Supreme Courtroom justice rages within the Senate, Justice Sonia Sotomayor introduced a way of levity throughout a chat at Washington College on Tuesday afternoon.

Sotomayor was in St. Louis this week to sit down down with the college’s chancellor, Andrew Martin, to reply questions, share private anecdotes and dole out life recommendation to the masked-up faculty college students who filed into the college’s Area Home.

Serving as the primary Hispanic and the third girl on the nation’s highest courtroom, she touched on subjects from self-awareness, household and private development, to approaching the justice system as a minority and displaying empathy as a choose.



Supreme Courtroom Affiliate Justice Sonia Sotomayor smiles to acknowledge the group’s applause after she completed talking throughout occasion at Washington College in St. Louis on Tuesday, April 5, 2022. Picture by David Carson, [email protected]


David Carson


Oh, and she or he let everybody learn about her newfound curiosity in poker.

“My taking part in is a little bit of a charity. I invite individuals to my residence, I feed them, I give all of them the liquor they need … and so once I win their cash, I don’t must report it,” she joked.

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However extra severely, Sotomayor stated she is engaged in and dedicated to serving to individuals perceive the significance of their obligation to raised the world — a price instilled by her mom and grandmother whereas she was rising up within the Bronx.

Sotomayor additionally instructed the viewers she believes the trail to self consciousness and success entails a couple of key parts: in search of out mentorship, understanding and acknowledging one’s personal fault in a state of affairs, and having the braveness to say, “I don’t know.”

The justice meandered her method by way of the viewers for many of the discuss, shaking arms and even taking pictures with college students, all whereas answering questions and reflecting on her experiences.

One individual requested her how she approached discussing polarizing points such because the Civil Rights motion and the Vietnam Conflict throughout her adolescence as a younger girl, and what recommendation she would give younger individuals navigating right this moment’s politically polarized panorama.

Sotomayor stated she tries exhausting to see the nice in everybody, one thing the justice’s mom, who died final yr, was steadfast in doing all through her life.

“You’re going to vary in views with individuals and a few of these views might be or really feel offensive to you,” she stated.

Sotomayor shared her expertise through the Supreme Courtroom affirmation course of, how she was damage when individuals stated she wasn’t good sufficient for the place and had solely been nominated due to affirmative motion efforts.

“(They neglect) you don’t choose an individual by who opens the door, you choose them by what they did once they went by way of the door,” she stated.

Sotomayor instructed the group that nonetheless damage they could be by one other’s views, they need to not write individuals off.

“Cease screaming, hear, attempt to put your self within the sneakers of that different individual; strive to determine what it’s they’re feeling and why they really feel that method,” she stated.

In reply to a query about how you can belief the justice system as a minority, understanding it has failed these teams of individuals up to now, she stated it’s necessary to take the lengthy view and acknowledge the, albeit sluggish, progress the system has made.

“That’s how I hold confidence, by realizing sure, there have been inherent flaws in our system of justice, however I’m right here working as exhausting as I can, even once I dissent, to attempt to keep away from us going off within the fallacious course,” she stated.

Sotomayor was nominated by President Barack Obama on Might 26, 2009. The Senate confirmed her on Aug. 6, 2009, on a 68-31 vote divided largely alongside get together traces.

The primary Black girl nominated to the excessive courtroom, Ketanji Brown Jackson, is predicted to be confirmed quickly.

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