born 1954

From age 10, the Bronx-raised Sonia Sotomayor knew she would go into the law. Her passion and determination brought her from New York ADA to Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court ~ the first Latina to serve on the nation's leading bench.

Sonia's job is to preserve the law, but she has also fought to make it more just as a vocal advocate for civil rights and affirmative action. Born to Puerto-Rican immigrants, Sonia has not only lived the American Dream but also lived to make it more accessible for all.

bio bits

her quotes

all quotes by Sonia Sotomayor (19)

"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."

The D.A.'s Right Arms | november 1983

"I am the perfect affirmative action baby."

testimony | 1990

"I think this fish has found her pond."

The Bronx, the Bench and the Life in Between | 1992

"Each day on the bench I learn something new about the judicial process and about being a professional Latina woman in a world that sometimes looks at me with suspicion."

A Latina Judge's Voice | october 2001

"There is always a danger embedded in relative morality, but since judging is a series of choices that we must make, that I am forced to make, I hope that I can make them by informing myself on the questions I must not avoid asking and continuously pondering."

A Latina Judge's Voice | october 2001

"The aspiration to impartiality is just that—it's an aspiration because it denies the fact that we are by our experiences making different choices than others."

A Latina Judge's Voice | october 2001

"I am reminded each day that I render decisions that affect people concretely and that I owe them constant and complete vigilance in checking my assumptions, presumptions and perspectives."

A Latina Judge's Voice | october 2001

"It's not the heart that compels conclusions in cases. It's the law."

Confirmation Hearing | july 2009

"Pretending to be a princess is fun, but it is definitely not a career."

Sesame Street | november 2012

"Don't mistake politeness for lack of strength."

NPR's Morning Edition | january 2013

"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."

My Beloved World | january 2013

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

My Beloved World | january 2013

"There are no bystanders in this life."

My Beloved World | january 2013

"If the system is broken, my inclination is to fix it rather than to fight it."

My Beloved World | january 2013

"The challenges that 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 achievement."

My Beloved World | january 2013

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

My Beloved World | january 2013

"Experience has taught me that you cannot value dreams according to the odds of their coming true."

My Beloved World | january 2013

"Race matters in part because of the long history of racial minorities being denied access to the political process. ... Race also matters because of persistent racial inequality in society—inequality that cannot be ignored and that has produced stark socioeconomic disparities. And race matters for reasons that really are only skin deep, that cannot be discussed any other way, and that cannot be wished away."

Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action | april 2014

"Race matters because of the slights, the snickers, the silent judgments that reinforce the most crippling of thoughts; 'I do not belong here.'"

Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action | april 2014
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curated with care by Alicia Williamson {september 2014}