Sonia Sotomayor says she cries after some Supreme Court cases


Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor revealed last week that there are days at the nation’s highest court that take an emotional toll.

“There are days when I came to my office after a case announcement and closed my door and cried,” Sotomayor said Friday at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, where she received an award. “There have been days. And there will probably be more.”

Sotomayor, the highest liberal-leaning judge on the court, did not mention specific cases or arguments that moved her to tears.

“There are times when I feel deeply, deeply sad,” she said. “And there are times when, yes, even I feel despair. We all do. But you have to own it. You have to accept it. You gotta let the tears fall, and then you gotta wipe them away and get up and fight again.

Sotomayor’s comments come as the Supreme Court is expected to rule on controversial cases in the coming weeks, deciding on issues ranging from abortion rights to guns and freedom of speech. The court is also expected to rule on former President Donald Trump’s immunity claims as he faces sweeping criminal charges of attempting to steal the 2020 election.

But Friday wasn’t the first time Sotomayor opened up about some of the personal consequences of serving on the court. The judge, 69, told students at the University of California, Berkley, School of Law earlier this year that she is “working harder than ever before,” offering a rare glimpse into life on a bench dominated by conservatives.

“I live in frustration,” she said in January. “Every loss really traumatizes me to the pit of my stomach and my heart.”

Appointed by former President Barack Obama in 2009, Sotomayor is one of three current Supreme Court justices appointed by Democrats. They often express sharp and sometimes emotional disagreements over controversial decisions, such as the 2022 one on abortion, which overturned Roe v. Wade.

Sotomayor, along with former Justice Stephen Breyer and Justice Elena Kagan, called the decision overturning Roe v. Wade “catastrophic” in a heated dissent at the time.

Contributing: Maureen Groppe, USA TODAY

Back To Top