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107 Inspiring Quotes by Sonia Sotomayor

  • Last updated Jul 27 2021

Welcome to our collection of quotes by Sonia Sotomayor.

Wikipedia Summary for Sonia Sotomayor

Sonia Maria Sotomayor (Spanish: [ˈsonja sotomaˈʝoɾ]; born June 25, 1954) is an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. She was nominated by President Barack Obama on May 26, 2009 and has served since August 8, 2009. She is the third woman to hold the position. Sotomayor is the first Woman of Color, first Hispanic, and first Latina member of the Court.

Sotomayor was born in The Bronx, New York City, to Puerto Rican-born parents. Her father died when she was nine, and she was subsequently raised by her mother. Sotomayor graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University in 1976 and received her Juris Doctor from Yale Law School in 1979, where she was an editor at the Yale Law Journal. She worked as an assistant district attorney in New York for four and a half years before entering private practice in 1984. She played an active role on the boards of directors for the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, the State of New York Mortgage Agency, and the New York City Campaign Finance Board.

Sotomayor was nominated to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York by President George H. W. Bush in 1991; confirmation followed in 1992. In 1997, she was nominated by President Bill Clinton to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Her nomination was slowed by the Republican majority in the United States Senate, but she was eventually confirmed in 1998. On the Second Circuit, Sotomayor heard appeals in more than 3,000 cases and wrote about 380 opinions. Sotomayor has taught at the New York University School of Law and Columbia Law School.

In May 2009, President Barack Obama nominated Sotomayor to the Supreme Court following the retirement of Justice David Souter. Her nomination was confirmed by the Senate in August 2009 by a vote of 68–31. While on the court, Sotomayor has supported the informal liberal bloc of justices when they divide along the commonly perceived ideological lines. During her tenure on the Supreme Court, Sotomayor has been identified with concern for the rights of defendants, calls for reform of the criminal justice system, and making impassioned dissents on issues of race, gender and ethnic identity, including Schuette v. BAMN, Utah v. Strieff, and Trump v. Hawaii.

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I am growing to love DC.This Washington is a beautiful city. I think every citizen should come see their capital. A lot of the museums are free, there are restaurants that are reasonably priced.

--Sonia Sotomayor

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Much of the uncertainty of law is not an unfortunate accident: it is of immense social value.

--Sonia Sotomayor


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I was fifteen years old when I understood how it is that things break down: people can't imagine someone else's point of view.

--Sonia Sotomayor


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Each time I see a split infinitive, an inconsistent tense structure or the unnecessary use of the passive voice, I blister.

--Sonia Sotomayor


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I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life.

--Sonia Sotomayor


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Many of the gaps in my knowledge and understanding were simply limits of class and cultural background, not lack of aptitude or application as I feared. Page 135.

--Sonia Sotomayor

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When you come from a background like mine, where you're entering worlds that are so different than your own, you have to be afraid.

--Sonia Sotomayor


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I had many reasons for writing memoir but among them was the hope that every Latino child and adult would find something familiar in it.

--Sonia Sotomayor



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The Latino community anchored me, but I didn't want it to isolate me from the full extent of what Princeton had to offer, including engagement with the larger community. Page 148.

--Sonia Sotomayor

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I do know one thing about me: I don't measure myself by others' expectations or let others define my worth.

--Sonia Sotomayor

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Without question, so many people, throughout my life, never think of Puerto Rico as part of the United States.

--Sonia Sotomayor

Longer Version:

Without question, so many people, throughout my life, never think of Puerto Rico as part of the United States. Many people have no idea what the relationship is between Puerto Rico and the United States. And certainly, I have been asked if we are citizens.


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I savor life. When you have anything that threatens life... it prods you into stepping back and really appreciating the value of life and taking from it what you can.

--Sonia Sotomayor




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I have ventured to write more intimately about my personal life than is customary for a member of the Supreme Court, and with that candor comes a measure of vulnerability.

--Sonia Sotomayor


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If I write a book where all I've ever experienced is success, people won't take a positive lesson from it. In being candid, I have to own up to my own failures, both in my marriage and in my work environment.

--Sonia Sotomayor

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The Latina in me is an ember that blazes forever.

--Sonia Sotomayor

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What's quote-unquote a 'good' lawyer, doctor, or whatever the profession is. And if you're a male who grew up professionally in a male-dominated profession, then your image of what a good lawyer is a male image.

--Sonia Sotomayor

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I have never, ever focused on the negative of things. I always look at the positive.

--Sonia Sotomayor


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If the system is broken, my inclination is to fix it rather than to fight it. I have faith in the process of the law, and if it is carried out fairly, I can live with the results, whatever they may be.

--Sonia Sotomayor

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I think that the day a justice forgets that each decision comes at a cost to someone, then I think you start losing your humanity.

--Sonia Sotomayor

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I wouldn't approach the issue of judging in the way the president does. Judges can't rely on what's in their heart. They don't determine the law. Congress makes the law. The job of a judge is to apply the law.

--Sonia Sotomayor



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I was aware that my nomination was drawing a lot of attention, particularly in the Latino world, not just in Puerto Rico. It was touching.

--Sonia Sotomayor

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People who live in difficult circumstances need to know that happy endings are possible. Page 1.

--Sonia Sotomayor


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Until we get equality in education, we won't have an equal society.

--Sonia Sotomayor


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In every position that I've been in, there have been naysayers who don't believe I'm qualified or who don't believe I can do the work. And I feel a special responsibility to prove them wrong.

--Sonia Sotomayor

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If the issue is letting the states experiment and letting the society have more time to figure out its direction, why is taking a case now the answer?

--Sonia Sotomayor


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I came to accept during my freshman year that many of the gaps in my knowledge and understanding were simply limits of class and cultural background, not lack of aptitude or application as I'd feared.

--Sonia Sotomayor

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My job as a prosecutor is to do justice. And justice is served when a guilty man is convicted and an innocent man is not.

--Sonia Sotomayor

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My diabetes is such a central part of my life... it did teach me discipline... it also taught me about moderation... I've trained myself to be super-vigilant... because I feel better when I am in control.

--Sonia Sotomayor

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No matter how liberal I am, I'm still outraged by crimes of violence. Regardless of whether I can sympathize with the causes that lead these individuals to do these crimes, the effects are outrageous.

--Sonia Sotomayor

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I think being a Catholic made me a better person. It taught me how to choose good over evil, and how to be a more caring human being.

--Sonia Sotomayor




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There are cultural biases built into testing, and that was one of the motivations for the concept of affirmative action -- to try to balance out those effects.

--Sonia Sotomayor

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I'm young at heart. I'm young in spirit, and I'm still adventurous.

--Sonia Sotomayor


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Don't mistake politeness for lack of strength.

--Sonia Sotomayor

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I firmly believe in the rule of law as the foundation for all of our basic rights.

--Sonia Sotomayor


None

The tatters of old stories are tangled, weathered, muted by long-held silences that succeeded loud feuds, and sometimes no doubt re-dyed a more flattering color.

--Sonia Sotomayor


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Experience has taught me that you cannot value dreams according to the odds of their coming true. Their real value is in stirring within us the will to aspire.

--Sonia Sotomayor


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A career is something that you train for and prepare for and plan on doing for a long time.

--Sonia Sotomayor


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We educated, privileged lawyers have a professional and moral duty to represent the underrepresented in our society, to ensure that justice exists for all, both legal and economic justice.

--Sonia Sotomayor

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Oh my God, I don't think you can say anyone looks forward to controversy.

--Sonia Sotomayor





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I was raised in a Bronx public housing project, but studied at two of the nation's finest universities. I did work as an assistant district attorney, prosecuting violent crimes that devastate our communities.

--Sonia Sotomayor


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A surplus of effort could overcome a deficit of confidence.

--Sonia Sotomayor

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It really takes growing up to treasure the specialness of being different.

--Sonia Sotomayor

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In my experience when a friend unloaded about a boyfriend or spouse, the listener soaked up the complaint and remembered it long after the speaker had forgiven the offense.

--Sonia Sotomayor


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This wealth of experiences, personal and professional, have helped me appreciate the variety of perspectives that present themselves in every case that I hear.

--Sonia Sotomayor

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There are no bystanders in this life.

--Sonia Sotomayor

Longer Version:

There are no bystanders in life. Our humanity makes us each a part of something greater than ourselves.


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All I can say is that with business and the interest of any party before me, I will consider and apply the law as it is written by Congress and informed by precedent.

--Sonia Sotomayor

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I am a very spiritual person. Maybe not traditionally religious in terms of Sunday Mass every week, that sort of thing.

--Sonia Sotomayor

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I would warn any minority student today against the temptations of self-segregation: take support and comfort from your own group as you can, but don't hide within it.

--Sonia Sotomayor

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I have never had to face anything that could overwhelm the native optimism and stubborn perseverance I was blessed with.

--Sonia Sotomayor

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I don't prejudge.

--Sonia Sotomayor

Longer Version:

I don't prejudge issues. I come to every case with an open mind. Every case is new to me.


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Even though Article IV of the Constitution says that treaties are the 'supreme law of the land,' in most instances they're not even law.

--Sonia Sotomayor



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I've never wanted to get adjusted to my income, because I knew I wanted to go back to public service. And in comparison to what my mother earns and how I was raised, it's not modest at all. I have no right to complain.

--Sonia Sotomayor


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You can't be a minority in this society without having someone express disapproval about affirmative action.

--Sonia Sotomayor

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The dynamism of any diverse community depends not only on the diversity itself but on promoting a sense of belonging among those who formerly would have been considered and felt themselves outsiders.

--Sonia Sotomayor

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I have spent my years since Princeton, while at law school and in my various professional jobs, not feeling completely a part of the worlds I inhabit. I am always looking over my shoulder wondering if I measure up.

--Sonia Sotomayor

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I found in my experiences that it's not that men are consciously discriminating against promoting women, but I do believe as people we have self-images about what's good.

--Sonia Sotomayor

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We have to look and ensure that we're paying attention to what we're doing, so that we don't reflexively institute processes and procedures that exclude people without thought.

--Sonia Sotomayor

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If I go home, get a gun, come back and shoot you, that may not be legal under New York law because you would have alternative ways to defend.

--Sonia Sotomayor

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I'm a New Yorker, and I jaywalk with the best of them.

--Sonia Sotomayor

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My judicial philosophy is fidelity to the law.

--Sonia Sotomayor


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The challenges I have faced -- among them material poverty, chronic illness, and being raised by a single mother -- are not uncommon, but neither have they kept me from uncommon achievements.

--Sonia Sotomayor


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I think that even someone who got into an institution through affirmative action could prove they were qualified by what they accomplished there.

--Sonia Sotomayor

Longer Version:

I think that even someone who got into an institution through affirmative action could prove they were qualified by what they accomplished there. Page 188.




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Personal experiences affect the facts that judges choose to see.

--Sonia Sotomayor

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You make your life choices understanding that you might and do have to work harder to prove yourself.

--Sonia Sotomayor

sunset

The first case I sat on... was Citizens United. Talk about being thrown in. Needless to say, if I was scared before, I was terrified.

--Sonia Sotomayor


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All judges have cases that touch our passions deeply, but we all struggle constantly with remaining impartial.

--Sonia Sotomayor



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