When she was nominated to the Supreme Court by President Barack Obama in 2009, Justice Sonia Sotomayor was only the third person of Hispanic descent to serve on the nation’s highest court and the first of those three to be appointed to the Supreme Court directly from the District Court level (the others were nominated directly from private practice). Since taking her seat on the bench, Sotomayor has had an active presence there, speaking out about cases that interest her and her fellow justices, as well as issues that are currently trending in the media.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who’s served on the Supreme Court for 12 years, told law students in a speech on Wednesday that working in the field does not come without disappointment.
“There’s going to be a lot of disappointments in the law, a huge amount,” Sotomayor said virtually at a diversity summit hosted by the American Bar Association, according to the Washington Post and CNN.
“As you study cases and look at outcomes you disagree with, it can get frustrating,” she continued, per The Post. “Look at me, look at my dissents.”
In a recent op-ed for The New York Times, Justice Sonia Sotomayor writes that there is going to be a lot of disappointment in [the law], a huge amount. She states that [t]he Supreme Court is not necessarily going to give you what you want and that it is up to the public and organizations like hers to pressure government officials into creating better laws. She ends by writing: If we do it right, if we do it together, if we come to understand one another in listening rather than in shouting or silence or violence or threats, then I remain hopeful. We may not be able to eradicate racism and sexism from our society.
America still incarcerates too many people. It’s no secret that our country has an addiction to imprisonment, and it often seems like we just can’t quit. The United States has less than 5 percent of the world’s population, but nearly 25 percent of its prisoners. These numbers translate into more than 2 million Americans behind bars today — disproportionately affecting minority groups who are statistically more likely to be stopped, frisked, arrested, and convicted for nonviolent crimes. Even though our prison population is shrinking (for now), states spend an estimated $50 billion on prisons each year; furthermore, ex-offenders face discrimination in housing, employment, and education after their release.
Justice Anthony Kennedy warned us against allowing incarceration rates to become too high—and yet they persist. We must change course before it becomes too late. There are three things at play here: stigma surrounding mental illness, stricter penalties for drug offenses, and mandatory minimum sentences based on illogical factors like weight or number of pills found during a raid. Our society sends far too many people away for far too long with little evidence suggesting that jail time helps them get back on track. Our justice system relies heavily on plea deals because there simply aren’t enough judges and courtrooms to accommodate all cases, especially when dealing with backlogged courts in major cities across America.
So it remains to be seen, or learned from what Supreme Justice Sonia Sotomayor is talking about. I for one am very interested in what she said. I think everyone should be interested.
God Bless America, God Save The Veterans