For some reason, all of a sudden, Supreme Court justices are appearing to speak in various forums and are stirring up some controversy depending on their perspective.
The latest justice to do so is Sonia Sotomayer, the self-described “wise Latino woman,” who is consistently on the losing side of Supreme Court opinions of late.
“There is going to be a lot of disappointment in the law, a huge amount,” she said Wednesday at an event hosted by the American Bar Association. “Look at me, look at my dissents.”
Earlier this month, Sotomayor penned a scathing opinion when the court’s majority allowed the Texas law to go into effect, calling the action “stunning.”
“You know, I can’t change Texas’ law,” Sotomayor said Wednesday, “but you can and everyone else who may or may not like it can go out there and be lobbying forces in changing laws that you don’t like.”
The justice then caught herself speaking about a contentious case currently before the court.
“I am pointing out to that when I shouldn’t because they tell me I shouldn’t,” she said. “But my point is that there are going to be a lot of things you don’t like” and that the public can change.
So, essentially, this “wise Latina woman” is telling law students that it is their job to lobby for the liberal causes she espouses which are opposed by a good percentage, dare the writer claim a majority, essentially so that eventually she will be vindicated.
“She is crafting arguments for future advocates, she is creating these road maps for how to restore rights to disempowered people,” Columbia Law School’s Alexis Hoag said at a recent event sponsored by the liberal American Constitution Society. “I’m looking for lengthy dissents.”
Last April, Sotomayor acknowledged that she was writing for the future at times. “Maybe,” she said, “a later court will understand I was right.”
George Washington University Law Professor David Fontana — who once dubbed Sotomayor the “People’s Justice” — took to Twitter recently to highlight her role after the court’s majority allowed the Texas law to go into effect.
“Sotomayor has chosen a different path,” from Chief Justice John Roberts and others who are more moderate in their dissent, Fontana wrote. “Better to push and develop an alternative perspective by your vote rather than sacrifice the microphone.”
“The Court’s order is stunning,” Sotomayor wrote at the time. “Presented with an application to join a flagrantly unconstitutional law engineered to prohibit women from exercising their constitutional rights and evade judicial scrutiny, a majority of the Justices have opted to bury their heads in the sand.”
Sotomayor added: “The Court should not be so content to ignore its constitutional obligations to protect not only the rights of women, but also the sanctity of its precedents and of the rule of law,” she concluded.
Was Sotomayor in class when the law was taught at law school? Precedents can be broken, and the cases she is deciding are just as much about states’ rights as they are about privacy and any manufactured right “found” in the fourteenth amendment.
Sotomayor wants to be an activist but doesn’t have the numbers on the court right now to do it. Thank Heaven for small favors like that.
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