Speed Reads

ammo for trump

Justice Sonia Sotomayor once said a Latina judge would make a different ruling than a white man

Donald Trump has repeatedly attacked the judge overseeing a lawsuit regarding Trump University for having a "Mexican heritage," a dismissal that many critics on both the right and left have said is racist. But in 2001, before President Obama appointed her as a Supreme Court justice, then-appeals court judge Sonia Sotomayor might have even agreed with Trump's point.

During a speech at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, Sotomayor dismissed an opinion held by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor that "a wise old man and wise old woman" would reach the same conclusion when deciding a case. Sotomayor further complicated this by saying she believes race might also factor into what one decides in a ruling:

…Our gender and national origins may and will make a difference in our judging. Justice O'Connor has often been cited as saying that a wise old man and wise old woman will reach the same conclusion in deciding cases...I am also not so sure that I agree with the statement. First, as Professor Martha Minnow has noted, there can never be a universal definition of wise. Second, 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. [Sotomayor via The New York Times]

Sotomayor specifically appears to be speaking about empathy, but there's no doubt her words might fall a little bit awkwardly right now.