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107 Inspiring Quotes by Sonia Sotomayor

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.

sea of white clouds

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

two women making peace sign near the Golden Gate bridge

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

--Sonia Sotomayor

selective focus of common poppy flower

To have a romance, you have to have time. I'm a justice. I've written a book. The guy's gonna have to wait until I'm a little bit freer.

--Sonia Sotomayor

white pendant lamp

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


purple flower

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

--Sonia Sotomayor


lighted candles on man's hand lying on the floor

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


shillouette photo of person standing at the peak

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

yellow and purple flower with white background

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


woman standing between sunflower field during daytime

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



ice berg

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

red flowers under the blue sky

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

--Sonia Sotomayor

black and white abstract illustration

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.


red textile on brown wooden table

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




pink and white flower in close up photography

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


photo of white and brown bricked wall during daytime

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

flame illustration

The Latina in me is an ember that blazes forever.

--Sonia Sotomayor

purple flowered hedge plants

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

woman looking up to the sky while standing on white sand

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

--Sonia Sotomayor


white printer paper on brown wooden table

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

yellow sunflower field under blue sky during daytime

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

photo of white and brown bricked wall during daytime

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



selective focus of common poppy flower

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

landscape photography of waves and clouds

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

--Sonia Sotomayor


two person standing while watching sky

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

--Sonia Sotomayor


sunset

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

plain background

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


white shore under sunny sky

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

purple flower

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

elephant on green grass field during daytime

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

purple and white light illustration

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

beach during daytime

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




gray concrete road between green trees during daytime

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

cloudy sky

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

--Sonia Sotomayor


white and black boat on sea during daytime

Don't mistake politeness for lack of strength.

--Sonia Sotomayor

white analog wall clock at 11 00

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

--Sonia Sotomayor


aerial view of river in between green trees during daytime

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


blue painted wall with white paint

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


brown and grey trees and rock formation painting

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

--Sonia Sotomayor


a person drowns underwater

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

red white and blue flag

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

--Sonia Sotomayor




silhouette of mountain during golden hour

I've never had my dexterity called into question, but I think if that was ever the case, I could acquit myself by tossing a ball back and forth horizontally between my hands.

--Sonia Sotomayor

person in black hoodie using laptop computer

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


people walking on hallway

A surplus of effort could overcome a deficit of confidence.

--Sonia Sotomayor

A view of the night showing stars

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

--Sonia Sotomayor

white rose flower

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


silhouette photography of man sitting on rock

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

empty pathway

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.


aerial view of river in between green trees during daytime

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

aerial photography of mountain range covered with snow under white and blue sky at daytime

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

--Sonia Sotomayor

person behind fog glass

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

grey hlalway

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

--Sonia Sotomayor

person holding yellow round analog clock

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.


shallow focus photography of hand with red paint

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



blue sky and white clouds

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


calm body of water near alp mountains during nighttime

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

--Sonia Sotomayor

silhouette of a woman with pink and purple sky

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

white cow eating green grass

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

solid background

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

girl and boy figurines

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

foggy mountains

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

cat with flower

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

--Sonia Sotomayor

four wooden boat on teal sea

My judicial philosophy is fidelity to the law.

--Sonia Sotomayor


trees under blue sky and stars during nighttime photo

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


pink, red, and black digital wallpaper

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.




depth photography of purple petaled flowers

Personal experiences affect the facts that judges choose to see.

--Sonia Sotomayor

green trees

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

--Sonia Sotomayor

black mountain under blue sky during night time

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


green and white bird on black wire during daytime

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

--Sonia Sotomayor



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