Justice Sotomayor Praises Conservative Colleague Despite Disagreements


Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor is offering praise for one of her conservative colleagues despite previous disagreements.

Sotomayor, a liberal, commented on her relationship with Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas while speaking at Chicago’s Roosevelt University on Thursday.

She was asked how she maintains relationships with the judges she has disagreements with.

“I try to find the good in everybody. Because if I can treat them as people with good things inside of me, they can feel it,” Sotomayor said.

She added, “They can feel that there are things inside them that I value. And they’re more willing to talk to me… and do it in a respectful way, where we can value each other.”

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Discussing her relationship with Thomas, Sotomayor explained, “I have disagreed more with him than with any other justice.”

According to Sotomayor, Thomas is “one of the few justices who knows practically everybody in our building. He knows their name, he knows the things about their life, what their family is suffering. He’ll tell me, you know that person’s wife is sick right now, or that person’s child is having difficulty.”

The justice went on to praise Thomas, saying, “He cares about people.”

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Acknowledging their differences on legal issues, Sotomayor continued, “I tell people, you know, Clarence believes, just like him, because he grew up very, very poor, that everyone is capable of picking themselves up by their bootstraps.”

Recognizing “some people can’t reach their bootstraps,” Sotomayor concluded, “That’s a fundamental difference in how we view what the law can or should or does do for people But I can appreciate him.”

Twitter users praised Sotomayor for her comments.

One wrote, “Good for her. We need more of this kind of attitude in our public life.”

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Another tweeted, “The Country needs more of this. Despite our political differences of opinion we are all human, and hopefully we can all come to value at least the Small Things in the folks we disagree with. Bravo, Justice Sotomayor.”

Meghan McCain tweeted, “What a beautiful example Justice Sotomayor and Justice Thomas are setting for the country.”

Sotomayor’s comments come less than a month after a survey found confidence in the court hit a record low.

According to a Gallup poll, less than half of U.S. adults at the time said they have “a great deal” or “a fair amount” of trust in the court.

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