Sonia Sotomayor

(Sonia Maria Sotomayor)

Sonia Sotomayor
Sonia Sotomayor
  • Born: June 25, 1954
  • Nationality: American
  • Profession: Judge

102

Quotes

8

Citations

61

Concepts

0

Videos

Quotes
Quote Topics Cited
… people can't imagine someone else's point of view. Human Nature
I am the perfect affirmative action baby. Discrimination & Prejudice
If you just try, and be stubborn about trying, you can do what you set out to do. Miscellaneous
The states, just like the Federal government, just can’t let the poor die. Health, Healthcare & Medicine
Unfettered discretion [in obtaining information could] alter the relationship between citizen and government in a way that is inimical to democratic society. Privacy, Abortion & Family Planning ;Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
Until we get equality in education, we won’t have an equal society. Equality & Equal Opportunity
You can’t be a minority in this society without having someone express disapproval of affirmative action.… We have to prove ourselves and we have to work hard doing it. Minorities & Women
You don't want a Supreme Court Justice to rule without knowing the consequence of the ruling in it's legal and non-legal aspects. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
A career is something that you train for and prepare for and plan on doing for a long time. Time
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. Business, Commerce & Finance
All judges have cases that touch our passions deeply, but we all struggle constantly with remaining impartial.
All of the legal defense funds out there, they're looking for people out there with court of appeals experience, because court of appeals is where policy is made. And I know, I know this is on tape and I should never say that because we don't make law, I know. I know. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
Although I grew up in very modest and challenging circumstances, I consider my life to be immeasurably rich. Life
An alcoholic father, poverty, my own juvenile diabetes, the limited English my parents spoke - although my mother has become completely bilingual since. All these things intrude on what most people think of as happiness. Happiness & Unhappiness
Being a justice. If you love law the way I do... you're given the job of a lifetime... you're permitted to address the most important legal questions of the country, and sometimes the world. And in doing so, you make a difference in people's lives. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex ;Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
Diabetes taught me discipline.
Each time I see a split infinitive, an inconsistent tense structure or the unnecessary use of the passive voice, I blister. Time
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.
I am a New Yorker, and 7:00 A.M. is a civilized hour to finish the day, not to start it. Morning
I am a product of affirmative action. I am the perfect affirmative action baby. I am Puerto Rican, born and raised in the south Bronx. My test scores were not comparable to my colleagues at Princeton and Yale. Not so far off so that I wasn't able to succeed at those institutions.
I am a very spiritual person. Maybe not traditionally religious in terms of Sunday Mass every week, that sort of thing.
I am an ordinary person who has been blessed with extraordinary opportunities and experiences. Today is one of those experiences.
I barely saw my mother, and the mom I saw was often angry and unhappy. The mother I grew up with is not the mother I know now. It's not the mother she became after my father died, and that's been the greatest prize of my life. Life
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. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
I can and do aspire to be greater than the sum total of my experiences, but I accept my limitations. I willingly accept that we who judge must not deny the differences resulting from experience and heritage but attempt, as the Supreme Court suggests, continuously to judge when those opinions, sympathies and prejudices are appropriate.
I do believe that every person has an equal opportunity to be a good and wise judge regardless of their background or life experiences. Life
I do know one thing about me: I don't measure myself by others' expectations or let others define my worth.
I do think there is a value in the services of judges for long periods of time. Time
I don't believe we should bend the Constitution under any circumstance. It says what it says. We should do honor to it.
I don't prejudge issues. I come to every case with an open mind. Every case is new to me.
I don't prejudge.
I firmly believe in the rule of law as the foundation for all of our basic rights.
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. Women
I had no need to apologize that the look-wider, search-more affirmative action that Princeton and Yale practiced had opened doors for me. That was its purpose: to create the conditions whereby students from disadvantaged backgrounds could be brought to the starting line of a race many were unaware was even being run.
I have had positive experiences with cameras. When I have been asked to join experiments using cameras in the courtroom, I have participated; I have volunteered.
I have never had to face anything that could overwhelm the native optimism and stubborn perseverance I was blessed with.
I have never, ever focused on the negative of things. I always look at the positive.
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.
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. Life
I honestly felt no envy or resentment, only astonishment at how much of a world there was out there and how much of it others already knew. The agenda for self-cultivation that had been set for my classmates by their teachers and parents was something I'd have to develop for myself.
I hope that as the Senate and American people learn more about me, they will see that I am an ordinary person who has been blessed with extraordinary opportunities and experiences. Hope
I listened very, very carefully to the world around me to pick up the signals of when trouble was coming. Not that I could stop it. But it made me observant. That was helpful when I became a lawyer, because I knew how to read people's signals.
I realized that people had an unreal image of me, that somehow I was a god on Mount Olympus. I decided that if I were going to make use of my role as a Supreme Court Justice, it would be to inspire people to realize that, first, I was just like them and second, if I could do it, so could they. Religion & God
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. Life
I stand on the shoulders of countless people, yet there is one extraordinary person who is my life aspiration. That person is my mother, Celina Sotomayor. Life
I strive never to forget the real world consequences of my decisions on individuals, businesses and government. Government
I think it's important to move people beyond just dreaming into doing. They have to be able to see that you are just like them, and you made it.
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.
I want to state upfront, unequivocally and without doubt: I do not believe that any racial, ethnic or gender group has an advantage in sound judging. I do believe that every person has an equal opportunity to be a good and wise judge, regardless of their background or life experiences. Life
I was a keen observer and listener. I picked up on clues. I figured things out logically, and I enjoyed puzzles. I loved the clear, focused feeling that came when I concentrated on solving a problem and everything else faded out.
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. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
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. Life ;Hope
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.
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. Success ;Work, Workers & The Labor Force
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. Religion & God
If your child marches to a different beat, a different drummer, you might just have to go along with that music. Help them achieve what's important to them. Music, Chants & Rapps
If you're poor, you don't often live near a good school. If it's a competitive public school program, our kids are not prepared to enter those programs.
I'm a New Yorker, and I jaywalk with the best of them.
I'm young at heart. I'm young in spirit, and I'm still adventurous.
In examining witnesses, I learned to ask general questions so as to elicit details with powerful sensory associations: the colors, the sounds, the smells that lodge an image in the mind and put the listener in the burning house.
It is important for all of us to appreciate where we come from and how that history has really shaped us in ways that we might not understand. History
It is our responsibility to explain to the public how an often unpredictable system of justice is one that serves a productive, civilized, but always evolving, society. Society
It is very important when you judge to recognize that you have to stay impartial. That's what the nature of my job is. I have to unhook myself from my emotional responses and try to stay within my unemotional, objective persona. Nature
It's not the heart that compels conclusions in cases, it's the law.
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.
Much of the uncertainty of law is not an unfortunate accident: it is of immense social value.
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. Life
My hope is that I will take the good from my experiences and extrapolate them further into areas with which I am unfamiliar. I simply do not know exactly what that difference will be in my judging. But I accept there will be some based on my gender and my Latina heritage. Hope
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.
My judicial philosophy is fidelity to the law.
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.
Oh my God, I don't think you can say anyone looks forward to controversy. Religion & God
Personal experiences affect the facts that judges choose to see.
Reaching a conclusion has to start with what the parties are arguing, but examining in all situations carefully the facts as they prove them or not prove them, the record as they create it, and then making a decision that is limited to what the law says on the facts before the judge.
Since I have difficulty defining merit and what merit alone means - and in any context, whether it's judicial or otherwise - I accept that different experiences in and of itself, bring merit to the system.
So many people grew up with challenges, as I did. There weren't always happy things happening to me or around me. But when you look at the core of goodness within yourself - at the optimism and hope - you realize it comes from the environment you grew up in. Hope
Sometimes it gets boring. No justice is supposed to say that. But, you know, there's drudgery in every job you're going to do.
Sometimes, idealistic people are put off the whole business of networking as something tainted by flattery and the pursuit of selfish advantage. But virtue in obscurity is rewarded only in Heaven. To succeed in this world you have to be known to people. Business, Commerce & Finance
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.
The Latina in me is an ember that blazes forever.
The schools that suffer are the schools in, in poor neighborhoods. They are the neighborhoods with the greatest need, with the parents struggling to work and to make ends meet. They don't have enough resources to give, they don't have enough resources to pay more, and these are the neighborhoods that go first. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
The task of a judge is not to make the law - it is to apply the law.
The truth is that since childhood I had cultivated an existential independence. It came from perceiving the adults around me as unreliable, and without it I felt I wouldn't have survived. I cared deeply for everyone in my family, but in the end I depended on myself. Truth ;Independence ;Families, Children & Parenting
The worst thing you want is a willy-nilly judge who is swayed by the political whims of the era or the time. What you want is a judge who is thinking about what he or she is doing and is thinking about it in a principled way. Time
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.
There are uses to adversity, and they don't reveal themselves until tested. Whether it's serious illness, financial hardship, or the simple constraint of parents who speak limited English, difficulty can tap unexpected strengths.
This wealth of experiences, personal and professional, have helped me appreciate the variety of perspectives that present themselves in every case that I hear.
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. Time
Until we get equality in education, we won't have an equal society. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training ;Society ;Equality & Equal Opportunity
We apply law to facts. We don't apply feelings to facts.
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. Society ;Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
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.
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.
When everyone at school is speaking one language, and a lot of your classmates' parents also speak it, and you go home and see that your community is different -there is a sense of shame attached to that. It really takes growing up to treasure the specialness of being different.
When I call myself an affirmative action baby, I'm talking about the essence of what affirmative action was when it started.
When I'm concentrating, I can be fixed in place for hours. In fact, there was a joke in my office that everybody would come and chat outside my door because they knew - no matter how loud they talked - if I was concentrating, it would not disturb me at all.
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.
When you have strong views about how to approach thinking about the law, then that view is going to lead to certain results in certain situations. And so people seem to think this predictability is based on some kind of partisan political view. But it's not.
Whether born from experience or inherent physiological or cultural differences, our gender and national origins may and will make a difference in our judging.
With my academic achievement in high school, I was accepted rather readily at Princeton and equally as fast at Yale, but my test scores were not comparable to that of my classmates. And that's been shown by statistics, there are reasons for that.
You can't be a minority in this society without having someone express disapproval about affirmative action. Society
You know, failure hurts. Any kind of failure stings. If you live in the sting, you will - undoubtedly - fail. My way of getting past the sting is to say no, I'm just not going to let this get me down. Failure