49 Invaluable Sonia Sotomayor Quotes

Sonia Sotomayor is an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Appointed by Barack Obama and graduate of Yale Law School, Sotomayer has served on the Supreme Court since 2009. Here is a look at some of the most notable Sonia Sotomayor quotes ever recorded.

“A surplus of effort could overcome a deficit of confidence.”

“Although I grew up in very modest and challenging circumstances, I consider my life to be immeasurably rich.”

“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.”

“As members of the judiciary tasked with intervening to carry out the guarantee of equal protection, we ought not sit back and wish away, rather than confront, the racial inequality that exists in our society.”

“As you discover what strength you can draw from your community in this world from which it stands apart, look outward as well as inward. Build bridges instead of walls.”

“Diabetes taught me discipline.”


“Don’t be shy about making a teacher of any willing party who knows what he or she is doing.”

“Don’t let fear stop you. Don’t give up because you are paralyzed by insecurity or overwhelmed by the odds, because in giving up, you give up hope.”

“Don’t mistake politeness for lack of strength.”

“Experience has taught me that you cannot value dreams according to the odds of their coming true. Their real value is in stirring within us the will to aspire.”

“I do believe that every person has an equal opportunity to be a good and wise judge regardless of their background or life experiences.”

“I do know one thing about me: I don’t measure myself by others’ expectations or let others define my worth.”

“I don’t believe we should bend the Constitution under any circumstance. It says what it says. We should do honor to it.”

“I have come to believe that in order to thrive, a child must have at least one adult in her life who shows her unconditional love, respect, and confidence.”

“I have never had to face anything that could overwhelm the native optimism and stubborn perseverance I was blessed with.”

“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.”

“I strive never to forget the real world consequences of my decisions on individuals, businesses and government.”

“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 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 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.”

“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.”

“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 common law judge. I believe in deciding every case on its facts, not on a legal philosophy.”

“In every position that I’ve been in, there have been naysayers who don’t believe I’m qualified or who don’t believe I can do the work. And I feel a special responsibility to prove them wrong.”

“In the wider context, what I believe I was – the point I was making was that our life experiences do permit us to see some facts and understand them more easily than others.”

“It really takes growing up to treasure the specialness of being different.”

“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.”

“One of the other reasons for writing this book [My Beloved World] was to hold on to the person you first met. More of the world knows about me now and follows me in a way that never happened before.”

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

“Remember that no one succeeds alone. Never walk alone in your future paths.”

“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.”

“Some people choose not to engage the battle and then don’t seek out that kind of success. And others do.”

“Sometimes, even if there was no useful advice to give, I saw that listening still helped.”

“Success is its own reward, but failure is a great teacher too, and not to be feared.”

“The Latina in me is an ember that blazes forever.”

“The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to speak openly and candidly on the subject of race, and to apply the Constitution with eyes open to the unfortunate effects of centuries of racial discrimination.”

“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.”

“Through reading, I escaped the bad parts of my life in the South Bronx. And, through books, I got to travel the world and the universe.”

“To me, lawyering is the height of service – and being involved in this profession is a gift.”

“Until we get equality in education, we won’t have an equal society.”

“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.”

“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.”

“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.”

“Whether born from experience or inherent physiological or cultural differences, our gender and national origins may and will make a difference in our judging.”

“You always wonder whether the attacks on my capabilities came from an honest evaluation of my accomplishments or from stereotypical presumptions that we [people of color] just can’t do it, for some reason.”

“You can’t dream unless you know what the possibilities are.”

“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.”

“You make your life choices understanding that you might and do have to work harder to prove yourself.”

Here is a special one on one interview with Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

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