Sonia Sotomayor

Sonia Sotomayor in the United States

Sonia Sotomayor is an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, serving since August 2009. She has served as a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit since October 1998. She has been hailed as “one of the ablest federal judges currently sitting” for her thoughtful opinions,i and as “a role model of aspiration, discipline, commitment, intellectual prowess and integrity”ii for her ascent to the federal bench from an upbringing in a South Bronx housing project.

Her American story and three decade career in nearly every aspect of the law provide Judge Sotomayor with unique qualifications to be the next Supreme Court Justice. She is a distinguished graduate of two of America’s leading universities. She has been a big-city prosecutor and a corporate litigator. Before she was promoted to the Second Circuit by President Clinton, she was appointed to the District Court for the Southern District of New York by President George H.W. Bush. She replaces Justice Souter as the only Justice with experience as a trial judge.
Judge Sotomayor served 11 years on the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, one of the most demanding circuits in the country, and has handed down decisions on a range of complex legal and constitutional issues. If confirmed, Sotomayor would bring more federal judicial experience to the Supreme Court than any justice in 100 years, and more overall judicial experience than anyone confirmed for the Court in the past 70 years. Judge Richard C. Wesley, a George W. Bush appointee to the Second Circuit, said “Sonia is an outstanding colleague with a keen legal mind. She brings a wealth of knowledge and hard work to all her endeavors on our court. It is both a pleasure and an honor to serve with her.”

In addition to her distinguished judicial service, Judge Sotomayor is a Lecturer at Columbia University Law School and was also an adjunct professor at New York University Law School until 2007.

At Princeton, she continued to excel, graduating summa cum laude, and Phi Beta Kappa. She was a co-recipient of the M. Taylor Pyne Prize, the highest honor Princeton awards to an undergraduate. At Yale Law School, Judge Sotomayor served as an editor of the Yale Law Journal and as managing editor of the Yale Studies in World Public Order. One of Sotomayor’s former Yale Law School classmates, Robert Klonoff (now Dean of Lewis & Clark Law School), remembers her intellectual toughness from law school: “She would stand up for herself and not be intimidated by anyone.” [Washington Post, 5/7/09]

Over a distinguished career that spans three decades, Judge Sotomayor has worked at almost every level of our judicial system – yielding a depth of experience and a breadth of perspectives that will be invaluable – and is currently not represented — on our highest court. New York City District Attorney Morgenthau recently praised Sotomayor as an “able champion of the law” who would be “highly qualified for any position in which wisdom, intelligence, collegiality and good character could be assets.” [Wall Street Journal, 5/9/09]

As Prosecutor

Fresh out of Yale Law School, Judge Sotomayor became an Assistant District Attorney in Manhattan in 1979, where she tried dozens of criminal cases over five years. Spending nearly every day in the court room, her prosecutorial work typically involved “street crimes,” such as murders and robberies, as well as child abuse, police misconduct, and fraud cases. Robert Morgenthau, the person who hired Judge Sotomayor, has described her as a “fearless and effective prosecutor.” [Wall Street Journal, 5/9/09] She was cocounsel in the “Tarzan Murderer” case, which convicted a murderer to 67 and ½ years to life in prison, and was sole counsel in a multiple-defendant case involving a Manhattan housing project shooting between rival family groups.

As Corporate Litigator

She entered private practice in 1984, becoming a partner in 1988 at the firm Pavia and Harcourt. She was a general civil litigator involved in all facets of commercial work including, real estate, employment, banking, contracts, and agency law. In addition, her practice had a significant concentration in intellectual property law, including trademark, copyright and unfair competition issues. Her typical clients were significant corporations doing international business. The managing partner who hired her, George Pavia, remembers being instantly impressed with the young Sonia Sotomayor when he hired her in 1984, noting that “she was just ideal for us in terms of her background and training.” [Washington Post, May 7, 2009]

As Trial Judge

Her judicial service began in October 1992 with her appointment to the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York by President George H.W. Bush. Still in her 30s, she was the youngest member of the court. From 1992 to 1998, she presided over roughly 450 cases. As a trial judge, she earned a reputation as a sharp and fearless jurist who does not let powerful interests bully her into departing from the rule of law. In 1995, for example, she issued an injunction against Major League Baseball owners, effectively ending a baseball strike that had become the longest work stoppage in professional sports history and had caused the cancellation of the World Series the previous fall. She was widely lauded for saving baseball. Claude Lewis of the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote that by saving the season, Judge Sotomayor joined “the ranks of Joe DiMaggio, Willie Mays, Jackie Robinson and Ted Williams.”

As a Jurist

President Clinton appointed Judge Sotomayor to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in 1998. She is the first Latina to serve on that court, and has participated in over 3000 panel decisions, authoring roughly 400 published opinions. Sitting on the Second Circuit, Judge Sotomayor has tackled a range of questions: from difficult issues of constitutional law, to complex procedural matters, to lawsuits involving complicated business organizations. In this context, Sotomayor is widely admired as a judge with a sophisticated grasp of legal doctrine. “’She appreciates the complexity of issues,’ said Stephen L. Carter, a Yale professor who teaches some of her opinions in his classes. Confronted with a tough case, Carter said, ‘she doesn’t leap at its throat but reasons to get to the bottom of issues.’” For example, in United States v. Quattrone, Judge Sotomayor concluded that the trial judge had erred by forbidding the release of jurors’ names to the press, concluding after carefully weighing the competing concerns that the trial judge’s concerns for a speedy and orderly trial must give way to the constitutional freedoms of speech and the press.

Sotomayor also has keen awareness of the law’s impact on everyday life. Active in oral arguments, she works tirelessly to probe both the factual details and the legal doctrines in the cases before her and to arrive at decisions that are faithful to both. She understands that upholding the rule of law means going beyond legal theory to ensure consistent, fair, common-sense application of the law to real-world facts. For example, In United States v. Reimer, Judge Sotomayor wrote an opinion revoking the US citizenship for a man charged with working for the Nazis in World War II Poland, guarding concentration camps and helping empty the Jewish ghettos. And in Lin v. Gonzales and a series of similar cases, she ordered renewed consideration of the asylum claims of Chinese women who experienced or were threatened with forced birth control, evincing in her opinions a keen awareness of those women’s plights.

Judge Sotomayor’s appreciation of the real-world implications of judicial rulings is paralleled by her sensible practicality in evaluating the actions of law enforcement officers. For example, in United States v. Falso, the defendant was convicted of possessing child pornography after FBI agents searched his home with a warrant. The warrant should not have been issued, but the agents did not know that, and Judge Sotomayor wrote for the court that the officers’ good faith justified using the evidence they found. Similarly in United States v. Santa, Judge Sotomayor ruled that when police search a suspect based on a mistaken belief that there is a valid arrest warrant out on him, evidence found during the search should not be suppressed. Ten years later, in Herring v. United States, the Supreme Court reached the same conclusion. In her 1997 confirmation hearing, Sotomayor spoke of her judicial philosophy, saying” I don’t believe we should bend the Constitution under any circumstance. It says what it says. We should do honor to it.” Her record on the Second Circuit holds true to that statement. For example, in Hankins v. Lyght, she argued in dissent that the federal government risks “an unconstitutional trespass” if it attempts to dictate to religious organizations who they can or cannot hire or dismiss as spiritual leaders. Since joining the Second Circuit, Sotomayor has honored the Constitution, the rule of law, and justice, often forging consensus and winning conservative colleagues to her point of view.
She has served as a member of the Second Circuit Task Force on Gender, Racial and Ethnic Fairness in the Courts and was formerly on the Boards of Directors of the New York Mortgage Agency, the New York City Campaign Finance Board, and the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund.

Decisions

Excerpted from SCOTUSBLOG, here are some of the most important of the more than 150 decisions she has authored:

  • Abortion Rights: In Center for Reproductive Law and Policy v. Bush, 304 F.3d 183 (2d Cir. 2002) she held the government “is free to favor the anti-abortion position over the pro-choice position” with public funds.
  • First Amendment – Speech: In Pappas v. Giuliani, 290 F.3d 143 (2d Cir. 2002) she concluded, the NYPD’s race relations concerns “are so removed from the effective functioning of the public employer that they cannot prevail over the free speech rights of the public employee.”
  • First Amendment – Political Association: In Kraham v. Lippman, 478 F.3d 502 (2d Cir. 2007) she wrote an opinion holding that a rule prohibiting high-ranking political party officials from receiving court fiduciary appointments (such as appointments as guardians ad litem) in New York state courts did not violate the plaintiff’s right to freedom of political association. She ultimately concluded that such an “incidental effect on individual decision-making, however, furthers the rational and legitimate goal of eliminating corrupt court appointments.”
  • First Amendment – Religion: In Ford v. McGinnis, 352 F.3d 382 (2d Cir. 2003) she held that the inmate’s First Amendment’s rights were violated because the feast was subjectively important to the inmate’s practice of Islam.
  • First Amendment: In Duamutef v. Hollins, 297 F.3d 108 (2d Cir. 2002) she held an inmate’s First Amendment rights were not violated by prison officials’ monitoring of his mail – prompted by the inmate’s receipt of a book with the title “Blood in the Streets: Investment Profits in a World Gone Mad” – because the inmate had previously caused disturbances and the prison needed to forestall security problems.
  • Civil Rights – Discrimination: In Gant v. Wallingford Board of Education, 195 F.3d 134 (2d Cir. 1999) Ray Gant, was transferred mid-year from first grade to kindergarten because of academic difficulties, alleged that the school was deliberately indifferent to racial hostility that he suffered and discriminated against him through the transfer. Sotomayor rejected their conclusion that the transfer was not race discrimination. In her view, the transfer was “unprecedented and contrary to the school’s established policies”: white students having academic difficulties, she noted, received compensatory help, whereas Gant – the “lone black child” in his class – was not given an “equal chance” but was instead demoted to kindergarten just nine days after arriving at the school.
  • Civil Rights – Racial Discrimination: In Norville v. Staten Island University Hospital, 196 F.3d 89 (2d Cir. 1999) she wrote an opinion that dismissed claims brought by a disabled black woman, who alleged that her employer did not give her the same accommodations for her disabilities that it provided to white employees, on the ground that the plaintiff had failed to prove that she was similarly situated to the white employees.
  • Civil Rights – Racial & Gender Discrimination: In Williams v. R.H. Donnelly Co., 368 F.3d 123 (2004) she wrote an opinion holding that an employee alleging racial (as well as gender) discrimination had not proven she was the victim of discrimination when her employer declined to create a position for her when the employer had never created a position for any particular employee.
  • Civil Rights – Hostile Work Environment: In Cruz v. Coach Stores, 202 F.3d 560 (2d Cir. 2000) for the judicial panel, she cited the allegations of racial slurs by the plaintiff’s supervisor and sexual harassment, as well as the plaintiff’s assertion that she was fired “under the pretext of fighting in the workplace after she was physically beaten and sexually assaulted,” and the “physically threatening nature of [the supervisor’s] behavior, which repeatedly ended with him backing Cruz into the wall . . . brings this case over the line separating merely offensive or boorish conduct from actionable sexual harassment.” Moreover the opinion noted, “a jury could find that [the supervisor’s] racial harassment exacerbated the effect of his sexually threatening behavior and vice versa.”
  • Civil Rights – Hostile Work Environment: In Raniola v. Bratton, 243 F.3d 610 (2d Cir. 2001) she emphasized that during a two-and-a-half-year period, “Raniola was subjected to offensive sex-based remarks, disproportionately burdensome work assignments, workplace sabotage, and one serious public threat of physical harm.” And it rejected the district court’s “conclusion that ‘there is no evidence that plaintiff herself felt that the use of barnyard expletives directed to her or others made her work environment offensive.” Similarly, although all of the disciplinary actions at issue took place after Raniola transferred to another precinct, her former supervisor’s role “in prosecuting her charges, the timing of the prosecution, and the surrounding events all lend support to Raniola’s retaliation claim.”
  • Civil Rights – Age Discrimination: In Hankins v. Lyght, 441 F.3d 96 (2d Cir. 2006) Sotomayor complained that the majority had “violate[d] a cardinal principle of judicial restraint” when it – unnecessarily, in her view – held that the RFRA was constitutional. Moreover, she deemed the panel’s decision to remand the case to the district court for briefing on the RFRA issue “a wasteful expenditure of judicial resources and an unnecessary and uninvited burden on the parties.” Instead, she would have affirmed the district court’s dismissal and held that the ADEA does not apply to employment suits against religious institutions by their leaders.
  • Civil Rights – Disability Discrimination: In Parker v. Columbia Pictures, 204 F.3d 326 (2d Cir. 2000) she was the author of an opinion that followed decisions of other circuits applying Title VII’s “mixed motive” analysis to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), holding that the case should be remanded to the district court because the plaintiff satisfied the elements for a prima facie case of discrimination based on disability.
  • Civil Rights – Disability Discrimination: In EEOC v. J.B. Hunt Transportation, Inc., 321 F.3d 69 (2d Cir. 2003) she would have held that the plaintiff had made out a prima facie case of disability discrimination because the defendants rejected all applicants for long-haul truck driving who took certain medications.
  • Civil Rights – Disability Discrimination: In Nielson v. Colgate-Palmolive, 199 F.3d 642 (2d Cir. 1999) she argued that when “a party exhibits a limited ability to understand a proceeding affecting her rights, the court must undertake even more strenuous efforts to explain the process.”

Opinions mentioning Sonia Sotomayor

  • 184 F. 3d 180 – United States of America v. Bebe Fazia
  • 271 F3d 80 United States of America v. Francisco Encarnacion .
  • 122 F3d 150 United States v. Gottesman
  • 232 F3d 301 United States of America v. Ronald Fisher
  • 191 F3d 339 United States of America v. Oswald Thorpe
  • 137 F3d 81 National Helicopter Corp of America v. City of New York …
  • 181 F3d 206 United States of America v. Olga Moreno Hector Becerra …
  • 481 F3d 867 Chuan Jian Zhang v. R Gonzales
  • 107 F3d 3 McNeil v. Aguilos
  • 981 F2d 74 United States v. Zuluaga
  • 107 F3d 3 Phillips v. G Walker
  • 56 F3d 352 Oppenheimer Co Inc v. A Neidhardt
  • 160 F3d 897 Johnson v. Morgenthau
  • 13 F3d 615 Epps v. Commissioner of Correctional Services
  • 150 F3d 132 Castle Rock Entertainment Inc v. Carol Publishing Group …
  • 171 F3d 739 3com Corporation v. Banco Do Brasil Sa
  • 382 F3d 225 Ng Sg Sc v. Connecticut
  • 142 F3d 116 Cohen v. Empire Blue Cross and Blue Shield
  • 84 F3d 103 Bernard v. Las Americas Communications Inc
  • 51 F3d 22 Sea Insurance Company Limited v. Westchester Fire …
  • 489 F3d 126 Zhong v. United States Department of Justice
  • 223 F3d 146 Bolt Electric Inc v. The City of New York
  • 986 F2d 15 United States v. International Brotherhood of Teamsters …
  • 122 F3d 150 United States v. Gottesman
  • 191 F3d 339 United States of America v. Oswald Thorpe
  • 313 F3d 653 United States v. Tomasi
  • 317 F3d 178 Pham v. United States
  • 232 F3d 301 United States of America v. Ronald Fisher
  • 230 F3d 44 United States of America v. Julio Gori Sorin Pichardo …
  • 108 F3d 1370 United States v. Shodeinde
  • 470 F3d 89 Armstrong v. R Guccione D M
  • 122 F3d 130 American Fuel Corporation v. Utah Energy Development …
  • 107 F3d 3 McNeil v. Aguilos | OpenJurist
  • 195 F3d 134 Ray Gant, Jr. v. Wallingford Board of Education
  • 396 F3d 136 Empire Healthchoice Assurance Inc v. McVeigh E …
  • 199 F3d 642 Francine M. Neilson v. Colgate-Palmolive Company …
  • 107 F3d 3 Levitin v. Homburger
  • 441 F3d 96 Hankins v. Lyght
  • 161 F3d 763 Rodriguez v. Artuz
  • 269 F3d 133 Justin Robinson v. The Government of Malaysia …
  • 290 F3d 143 Pappas v. Giuliani
  • 13 F3d 615 Epps v. Commissioner of Correctional Services
  • 229 F3d 187 Lee Koehler v. The Bank of Bermuda Limited the Bank of …
  • 4 F3d 1038 United States v. Millan
  • 332 F3d 105 Gilbert v. Seton Hall University
  • 195 F3d 123 Stanley Weaver v. United States of America
  • 81 F3d 1576 Refac International Ltd v. Lotus Development …
  • 382 F3d 225 Ng Sg Sc v. Connecticut
  • 217 F3d 93 The State of Connecticut v. John P Cahill Donald W …
  • 228 F3d 171 Felix Sutherland v. Janet Reno
  • 321 F3d 282 Queenie Ltd v. Nygard International

Another Biography

Sonia Sotomayor has served as a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit since October 1998. She has been hailed as “one of the ablest federal judges currently sitting” for her thoughtful opinions,i and as “a role model of aspiration, discipline, commitment, intellectual prowess and integrity”ii for her ascent to the federal bench from an upbringing in a South Bronx housing project.
Her American story and three decade career in nearly every aspect of the law provide Judge Sotomayor with unique qualifications to be the next Supreme Court Justice. She is a distinguished graduate of two of America’s leading universities. She has been a big-city prosecutor and a corporate litigator. Before she was promoted to the Second Circuit by President Clinton, she was appointed to the District Court for the Southern District of New York by President George H.W. Bush. She replaces Justice Souter as the only Justice with experience as a trial judge.
Judge Sotomayor served 11 years on the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, one of the most demanding circuits in the country, and has handed down decisions on a range of complex legal and constitutional issues. If confirmed, Sotomayor would bring more federal judicial experience to the Supreme Court than any justice in 100 years, and more overall judicial experience than anyone confirmed for the Court in the past 70 years. Judge Richard C. Wesley, a George W. Bush appointee to the Second Circuit, said “Sonia is an outstanding colleague with a keen legal mind. She brings a wealth of knowledge and hard work to all her endeavors on our court. It is both a pleasure and an honor to serve with her.”
In addition to her distinguished judicial service, Judge Sotomayor is a Lecturer at Columbia University Law School and was also an adjunct professor at New York University Law School until 2007.
An American Story
Judge Sonia Sotomayor has lived the American dream. Born to a Puerto Rican family, she grew up in a public housing project in the South Bronx. Her parents moved to New York during World War II – her mother served in the Women’s Auxiliary Corps during the war. Her father, a factory worker with a third-grade education, died when Sotomayor was nine years old. Her mother, a nurse, then raised Sotomayor and her younger brother, Juan, now a physician in Syracuse. After her father’s death, Sotomayor turned to books for solace, and it was her new found love of Nancy Drew that inspired a love of reading and learning, a path that ultimately led her to the law.
Most importantly, at an early age, her mother instilled in Sotomayor and her brother a belief in the power of education. Driven by an indefatigable work ethic, and rising to the challenge of managing a diagnosis of juvenile diabetes, Sotomayor excelled in school. Sotomayor graduated as valedictorian of her class at Blessed Sacrament and at Cardinal Spellman High School in New York. She first heard about the Ivy League from her high school debate coach, Ken Moy, who attended Princeton University, and she soon followed in his footsteps after winning a scholarship.
At Princeton, she continued to excel, graduating summa cum laude, and Phi Beta Kappa. She was a co-recipient of the M. Taylor Pyne Prize, the highest honor Princeton awards to an undergraduate. At Yale Law School, Judge Sotomayor served as an editor of the Yale Law Journal and as managing editor of the Yale Studies in World Public Order. One of Sotomayor’s former Yale Law School classmates, Robert Klonoff (now Dean of Lewis & Clark Law School), remembers her intellectual toughness from law school: “She would stand up for herself and not be intimidated by anyone.” [Washington Post, 5/7/09]
A Champion of the Law
Over a distinguished career that spans three decades, Judge Sotomayor has worked at almost every level of our judicial system – yielding a depth of experience and a breadth of perspectives that will be invaluable – and is currently not represented — on our highest court. New York City District Attorney Morgenthau recently praised Sotomayor as an “able champion of the law” who would be “highly qualified for any position in which wisdom, intelligence, collegiality and good character could be assets.” [Wall Street Journal, 5/9/09]
A Fearless and Effective Prosecutor
Fresh out of Yale Law School, Judge Sotomayor became an Assistant District Attorney in Manhattan in 1979, where she tried dozens of criminal cases over five years. Spending nearly every day in the court room, her prosecutorial work typically involved “street crimes,” such as murders and robberies, as well as child abuse, police misconduct, and fraud cases. Robert Morgenthau, the person who hired Judge Sotomayor, has described her as a “fearless and effective prosecutor.” [Wall Street Journal, 5/9/09] She was cocounsel in the “Tarzan Murderer” case, which convicted a murderer to 67 and ½ years to life in prison, and was sole counsel in a multiple-defendant case involving a Manhattan housing project shooting between rival family groups.
A Corporate Litigator
She entered private practice in 1984, becoming a partner in 1988 at the firm Pavia and Harcourt. She was a general civil litigator involved in all facets of commercial work including, real estate, employment, banking, contracts, and agency law. In addition, her practice had a significant concentration in intellectual property law, including trademark, copyright and unfair competition issues. Her typical clients were significant corporations doing international business. The managing partner who hired her, George Pavia, remembers being instantly impressed with the young Sonia Sotomayor when he hired her in 1984, noting that “she was just ideal for us in terms of her background and training.” [Washington Post, May 7, 2009]
A Sharp and Fearless Trial Judge
Her judicial service began in October 1992 with her appointment to the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York by President George H.W. Bush. Still in her 30s, she was the youngest member of the court. From 1992 to 1998, she presided over roughly 450 cases. As a trial judge, she earned a reputation as a sharp and fearless jurist who does not let powerful interests bully her into departing from the rule of law. In 1995, for example, she issued an injunction against Major League Baseball owners, effectively ending a baseball strike that had become the longest work stoppage in professional sports history and had caused the cancellation of the World Series the previous fall. She was widely lauded for saving baseball. Claude Lewis of the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote that by saving the season, Judge Sotomayor joined “the ranks of Joe DiMaggio, Willie Mays, Jackie Robinson and Ted Williams.”
A Tough, Fair and Thoughtful Jurist
President Clinton appointed Judge Sotomayor to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in 1998. She is the first Latina to serve on that court, and has participated in over 3000 panel decisions, authoring roughly 400 published opinions. Sitting on the Second Circuit, Judge Sotomayor has tackled a range of questions: from difficult issues of constitutional law, to complex procedural matters, to lawsuits involving complicated business organizations. In this context, Sotomayor is widely admired as a judge with a sophisticated grasp of legal doctrine. “’She appreciates the complexity of issues,’ said Stephen L. Carter, a Yale professor who teaches some of her opinions in his classes. Confronted with a tough case, Carter said, ‘she doesn’t leap at its throat but reasons to get to the bottom of issues.’” For example, in United States v. Quattrone, Judge Sotomayor concluded that the trial judge had erred by forbidding the release of jurors’ names to the press, concluding after carefully weighing the competing concerns that the trial judge’s concerns for a speedy and orderly trial must give way to the constitutional freedoms of speech and the press.
Sotomayor also has keen awareness of the law’s impact on everyday life. Active in oral arguments, she works tirelessly to probe both the factual details and the legal doctrines in the cases before her and to arrive at decisions that are faithful to both. She understands that upholding the rule of law means going beyond legal theory to ensure consistent, fair, common-sense application of the law to real-world facts. For example, In United States v. Reimer, Judge Sotomayor wrote an opinion revoking the US citizenship for a man charged with working for the Nazis in World War II Poland, guarding concentration camps and helping empty the Jewish ghettos. And in Lin v. Gonzales and a series of similar cases, she ordered renewed consideration of the asylum claims of Chinese women who experienced or were threatened with forced birth control, evincing in her opinions a keen awareness of those women’s plights.
Judge Sotomayor’s appreciation of the real-world implications of judicial rulings is paralleled by her sensible practicality in evaluating the actions of law enforcement officers. For example, in United States v. Falso, the defendant was convicted of possessing child pornography after FBI agents searched his home with a warrant. The warrant should not have been issued, but the agents did not know that, and Judge Sotomayor wrote for the court that the officers’ good faith justified using the evidence they found. Similarly in United States v. Santa, Judge Sotomayor ruled that when police search a suspect based on a mistaken belief that there is a valid arrest warrant out on him, evidence found during the search should not be suppressed. Ten years later, in Herring v. United States, the Supreme Court reached the same conclusion. In her 1997 confirmation hearing, Sotomayor spoke of her judicial philosophy, saying” I don’t believe we should bend the Constitution under any circumstance. It says what it says. We should do honor to it.” Her record on the Second Circuit holds true to that statement. For example, in Hankins v. Lyght, she argued in dissent that the federal government risks “an unconstitutional trespass” if it attempts to dictate to religious organizations who they can or cannot hire or dismiss as spiritual leaders. Since joining the Second Circuit, Sotomayor has honored the Constitution, the rule of law, and justice, often forging consensus and winning conservative colleagues to her point of view.
A Commitment to Community
Judge Sotomayor is deeply committed to her family, to her co-workers, and to her community. Judge Sotomayor is a doting aunt to her brother Juan’s three children and an attentive godmother to five more. She still speaks to her mother, who now lives in Florida, every day. At the courthouse, Judge Sotomayor helped found the collegiality committee to foster stronger personal relationships among members of the court. Seizing an opportunity to lead others on the path to success, she recruited judges to join her in inviting young women to the courthouse on Take Your Daughter to Work Day, and mentors young students from troubled neighborhoods Her favorite project, however, is the Development School for Youth program, which sponsors workshops for inner city high school students. Every semester, approximately 70 students attend 16 weekly workshops that are designed to teach them how to function in a work setting. The workshop leaders include investment bankers, corporate executives and Judge Sotomayor, who conducts a workshop on the law for 25 to 35 students. She uses as her vehicle the trial of Goldilocks and recruits six lawyers to help her. The students play various roles, including the parts of the prosecutor, the defense attorney, Goldilocks and the jurors, and in the process they get to experience openings, closings, direct and cross-examinations. In addition to the workshop experience, each student is offered a summer job by one of the corporate sponsors. The experience is rewarding for the lawyers and exciting for the students, commented Judge Sotomayor, as “it opens up possibilities that the students never dreamed of before.” [Federal Bar Council News, Sept./Oct./Nov. 2005, p.20] This is one of many ways that Judge Sotomayor gives back to her community and inspires young people to achieve their dreams.
She has served as a member of the Second Circuit Task Force on Gender, Racial and Ethnic Fairness in the Courts and was formerly on the Boards of Directors of the New York Mortgage Agency, the New York City Campaign Finance Board, and the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund.
_________________________
i American Philosophical Society, Biographical Essays of Moderators, Speakers, Inductees and Award Recipients, Annual General Meeting, April 2003, at 36.
ii Honorary Degree Citation, Pace University School of Law, 2003 Commencement.

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