US Supreme Court justice Sonia Sotomayor admits she ‘cries’ after some cases: ‘I feel desperation’

Associate Justice of The Supreme Court of the United States Sonia Sotomayor

Liberal US Supreme Court justice Sonia Sotomayor has admitted that she cries after some cases and can feel “desperation” about rulings. 

The 69-year-old justice didn’t refer to any specific cases, but particularly controversial rulings in recent years have resulted the overturning of Roe v Wade, which protected access to abortion, and allowed businesses to discriminate against LGBTQ+ customers

“There are days that I’ve come to my office after an announcement of a case and closed my door and cried,” Sotomayor told the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, where she received an award on Friday (24 May). 

“There have been those days. And there are likely to be more.”

Sotomayor’s comments come as the Supreme Court is poised to rule on a number of high-profile cases, including whether former president Donald Trump will be immune from prosecution, and about access to the abortion pill mifepristone. 

“There are moments when I’m deeply, deeply sad,” said Sotomayor, who was nominated for the bench by Barack Obama in 2009 and is married to husband Kevin Edward Noonan who she’s dated since high school.

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“And there are moments when, yes, I feel desperation. We all do. But you have to own it. You have to accept it. You have to shed the tears, then you have to wipe them and get up and fight some more.”

The Supreme Court’s overturning of a landmark abortion case was met with dismay by activists. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

Sotomayor has previously discussed her “frustration” with some of the court’s decisions. 

The Supreme Court consists of nine justices. At the moment, six of them were appointed by Republican presidents, giving the bench a strong conservative tilt.

Speaking at the Berkeley School of Law, in California, earlier this year, she said: “Every loss truly traumatises me in my stomach and in my heart but I have to get up the next morning and keep on fighting.”

Perhaps one of the most controversial justices is Brett Kavanaugh, who was nominated by Trump in 2018 and remains on the bench despite being accused of sexual assault by psychology professor Christine Blasey Ford, an allegation he vehemently denies. 

Since his appointment, he has voted to overturn Roe v Wade, and ruled in favour of a Catholic adoption agency that had been denied funding because it does not place children for adoption with same-sex couples, and to allow a Colorado graphic designer to refuse to make wedding websites for same-sex couples.

Fellow conservative justice Clarence Thomas – nominated by president George WH Bush in 1991 – found himself the centre of attention last year when it was alleged that he had violated federal financial disclosure laws. He responded by saying he had been advised that the “personal hospitality” was not reportable under the regulations but added that he would abide by tighter rules that had since taken effect.

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