“They Tell Me I Shouldn’t But . . .”: Sotomayor Calls on Law Students to Oppose the Texas Abortion Law

Modern justices have long chafed at the restraints of judicial ethical rules about public commentary. The late Ruth Bader Ginsburg was celebrated as “notorious” due in part to her controversial public speeches and discussions of pending or expected cases before the Court. Despite my long criticism of this trend, I was still taken aback by comments of Justice Sonia Sotomayor at an event organized by the American Bar Association. In her comments, Sotomayor appeared to call for political campaigns and discussed a matter just before the Court. Despite the discussion of the case and political opposition from a sitting justice, the ABA members were silent as were the many liberal activists who have been denouncing the Court as too “political.”I admittedly hold a more traditional and cloistered view of public role of justices. I was particularly critical of the late Justice Antonin Scalia and Justice Ginsburg who relished appearances before ideologically supportive groups. Other justices like Justice Samuel Alito also crossed this line of judicial decorum and restraint in my view. We have seen more and more public speaking by justices in both books and speeches on contemporary issues. I have called this trend the “rise of the celebrity justice.” However, what occurred this week was troubling. Justice Sotomayor participated in the event with law students by Zoom. Sotomayor first told the law students to expect a “huge amount” of disappointment in the law and pointed to “my dissents” as evidence of that struggle.  
Sotomayor then turned to the recent court decision not to intervene in the Texas abortion case. Sotomayor wrote a heated dissent in Whole Woman Health v. Jackson. After criticizing her colleagues for their “stunning” decision, she called on students to politically oppose the law: “You know, I can’t change Texas’ law but you can and everyone else who may or may not like it can go out there and be lobbying forces in changing laws that you don’t like.” She then added “I am pointing out to that when I shouldn’t because they tell me I shouldn’t. But my point is that there are going to be a lot of things you don’t like” and require public action.”
It was plainly obvious that Justice Sotomayor was encouraging students to politically oppose the law and laws like it.  She was already on record in both her dissent and her public comments that she viewed the law as horrific and unacceptable.Not only is the Court scheduled to deal with the Dobbs case this term, Whole Woman Health v. Jackson was only denied a stay.  New appeals are working toward the Court. Now that Sotomayor has called for political action and lobbying against the law, there may be calls for her to recuse herself though she is unlikely to do so. What is most striking is how Sotomayor’s words have received praise and virtually no criticism from the left. Professors and writers have been calling for the packing of the Court due to what they describe as a politically active majority on the right of the Court.  Here is a justice calling directly for political action to change a law being appealed to the Supreme Court. Yet, there is not a peep of protest from figures like Dean Erwin Chemerinsky that the conservatives on the Court are a bunch of “political hacks.”

I believe that Justice Sotomayor has been a strong addition to the Court and, while I sometimes disagree with her, she has already carved out an influential legacy. I also do not consider her or any of her colleagues a “political hack.” Moreover, I have criticized justices on the left and the right of the Court for public comments. However, this type of commentary undermines the integrity of the Court in dealing with opinions with tremendous impact on all citizens. They have a right to expect justices to speak through their opinions and refrain from such public political remarks, particularly on matters before or coming to the Court.


78 thoughts on ““They Tell Me I Shouldn’t But . . .”: Sotomayor Calls on Law Students to Oppose the Texas Abortion Law”

  1. What does one expect from a judge that shouldn’t be on the Supreme Court?

    1. Did I miss a reference to Justice “I can’t remember the enumerated rights in the First Amendment” Barrett? Funny it was the freedom to protest. I guess that shouldn’t worry us too much.

  2. I remember when this same woman described her abilities as being superior because she was “A Wise Latina”.

    That tells you almost all you need to know about her right there.

    But sauce for the meat, she also explained an inarticulate English phrase by saying she was used to Spanish and there were no definite articles in Spanish.

    Actually, there are more definite articles in Spanish than in English which, in some instances, makes Spanish easier to understand than English. Is ‘the’ masculine or feminine, singular or plural? Thanks primarily to Southern culture we do have a much needed form of second person, plural: Y’all.

    There are very wise Latinas [I don’t like the expression; I prefer people] but Sotomayor doesn’t appear to be one of them.

    1. “I remember when this same woman described her abilities as being superior because she was “A Wise Latina”.”

      It sounds like you were at a gathering with her. I heard the same thing and though that might help in certain courts, that type of thinking, IMO, doesn’t belong on the Supreme Court.

      Don’t get me wrong, I liked her as a person and she certainly mixes well with the crowd, She just doesn’t belong on the Supreme Court.

      1. The La Raza judge has been great – Marx is proud. How are all those wise Latinas (not even an appropriate term – made up by NWO for division) doing in central and South America? Wise? Hasn’t worked. a day in her life.

  3. “But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

    – Declaration of Independence, 1776


    America is a nation of laws. All zygotes are created equal – equal with the mothers who carry them. The choice is the zygote’s, not the mother’s. Homicide is constitutionally codified as being a violation of and against the law. It is no wonder an anti-American, shrouded in foreign allegiances and propensities, forswears the Constitution. This foreign hyphenate affirmative action project, ensconced on the American Supreme Court by the global communist Deep Deep State, is advocating criminal behavior, that is to say, homicide, or the killing of one human being by another. Justices of the Supreme Court are compelled by the Constitution, not to influence individuals, brainwash citizens or legislate, but to swear, to take an oath, to support the literal, “manifest tenor” of the Constitution. This anomalous entity has violated the oath to be sworn to by actual Supreme Court Justices.

    This unintended consequence was foreseen by the Founders:

    “The influx of foreigners must, therefore, tend to produce a heterogeneous compound; to change and corrupt the national spirit; to complicate and confound public opinion; to introduce foreign propensities. In the composition of society, the harmony of the ingredients is all-important, and whatever tends to a discordant intermixture must have an injurious tendency.”

    – Alexander Hamilton

    Article 6, Clause 3

    …all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution;…


    homicide noun

    ho·​mi·​cide | \ ˈhä-mə-ˌsīd
    , ˈhō-
    Definition of homicide

    1 : a person who kills another

    2 : a killing of one human being by another detectives investigating a homicide


    zygote noun

    zy·​gote | \ ˈzī-ˌgōt
    Definition of zygote

    : a cell formed by the union of two gametes broadly

    : the developing individual produced from such a cell

    – Merriam Webster

  5. This is not shocking at all. The idea that judges and justices are Apolitical and that their own biases, beliefs and ideologies don’t come into play is naive. Some may suppress their biases better than others, but on hot-button issues, more times than not, they are ruling from their guts. This is neither right nor wrong, it’s human nature.

    1. Anon- “but on hot-button issues, more times than not, they are ruling from their guts”
      Possibly it is getting that way with considerable push from the Lawless Left and Critical Legal Theory.

      But it shouldn’t be.

      Every lawyer has read opinions in which the justice was not happy with his own ruling but believed his duty to law outweighed his personal sentiments. That’s real law.

      1. >> “that their own biases, beliefs and ideologies don’t come into play is naive”

        > “the justice was not happy with his own ruling but believed his duty to law outweighed his personal sentiments. ”

        That is why we need a solid and deep anchor when dealing with Constitutional issues. The left wants the Constitution changed at will under the guise that they are interpreting the Constitution. They aren’t. They are looking for and finding excuses. If the Constitution were as fluid as the left suggests, there would have been no need to set out the methodology of amendment to the Constitution.

        1. “If the Constitution were as fluid as the left suggests, there would have been no need to set out the methodology of amendment to the Constitution.”


          There wouldn’t be a Constitution. Just an artifact of history.

    2. It is wrong. If they can’t follow the constitution get out of law. Very simple.

  6. The fact this woman sits on the Supreme Court is SCARY. Remember, she advocated for FORCED LABOR.

    “On May 16 at an American Law Institute meeting, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor declared that she was in favor of forced labor – at least to the extent of compelling lawyers to do enough pro bono work so that poor people in America can have legal representation when they need it.”

  7. Under standard canons of judicial ethics and federal law (28 U.S.C. § 455) itself, Sotomayor should now be forced to recuse from future any further S.B. 8 litigation at the Supreme Court. She assuredly will not do so, of course.

    1. 28 U.S.C. § 455 doesn’t mean what you fancy it means. Justices are not disallowed to hold opinions about legislation.

  8. You mean judges are actually supposed to be real judges, following a principle of equality before the law, instead of being partisan hacks? This is a shocking new concept to me. I’d like to see it in action someday.

  9. I’m a wisa Latina
    And I’ve come to say
    Texas must allow abortion
    As in Roe v. Wade
    For the people who are gold and brown
    Equal outcomes must be handed down
    (sung to the Chiquita banana song)

    1. Latina, LatinaX, “person of color”, every racist judgment, label, and designation but their actual national, perhaps tribal, identity.

  10. I terminated my membership in the ABA many years ago when it announced its PRO-ABORTION position. My employer reimbursed my dues, but I refused to have any $$ going to an organization that supported killing babies and using government funding and other means to that end.

    1. I just looked on my office wall and saw the last time I paid any ABA dues and it was 1975. They have been in the tank for many ,many years. Nothing new here.

  11. There is no mystery in sex and conception. A woman and man have four choices, and still six weeks for planned parent/hood. The Pro-Choice religion denies a woman and man’s dignity and agency, and reduces human life to a negotiable asset. A wicked solution to a purportedly hard problem.

  12. Justices have political opinions just like anyone else, and it is much better to have them state their opinions then to pretend that they are neutral.

    1. Orly-Sure they do but I wish they would express their political opinions prior to taking the auth to the constitution. Because the power to offer opinion does not equal the power to make law.

      1. They should. That is why I think it is BS that they refuse to answer questions during their confirmation hearings. Their biases and political leanings and what they think of cases needs to be laid bare.

  13. Given the opportunity the radical dem party would pack the court with Sotomayor’s.

    1. The Court should maintain, at the minimum, a facade of impartiality to the cases that come before it. After Sotomayers’s injudicious comments there will be no way for litigants to expect to be treated fairly, and that her decisions will be based on the law and legal precedent, instead of pure partisan politics.

      1. Do you think she will be unable to cite the law or legal precedent when the time comes to make her decision?

  14. Must force a recusal after such open and public bias. Ridiculous to accept any excuses.

  15. Good grief, everyone including Turley going into hysterics over a common piece of advice from a Supreme Court justice.

    There’s nothing unprecedented about what she said. Ironically it seems Turley is engaging in the “age of rage” rhetoric he is often complaining about.

    Justice Alito himself discussed the Texas case as recently as last week. Turley mentions it in passing in his column.

    Justice Sotomayor wasn’t calling for political action. Turley surely knows the difference between calling for action and making a suggestion. Turley’s column is more of a means to feed the “rage” he is often complaining about. This is why Turley’s columns are more often than not hypocrisy.

    1. Any Supreme Court Justice that chooses not to follow or violates the ethical responsibilities and duties attached to the position of Supreme Court Justice, should immediately resign the position, reprimanded or removed from the Supreme Court. The Opinion of the Court or a dissent is the only appropriate place for a Supreme Court Justice to express legal views. The whole point of the creation of the Supreme Court was to make sure that Constitutional questions be handled in a professional and unbias manner.

      1. The late justice Scalia did this all the time. The right was just as indifferent as the left is about Sotomayor’s comments. Turley is just contributing to the “age of rage” rhetoric he constantly laments is the new norm. What Sotomayor said is not controversial at all. It’s pretty much run of the mill advice.

      2. Dana, you might want to read Josh Blackman’s column from Volokh Conspiracy.
        The snark by attorneys in the comments section is A1 pure theater


        “Third, it is extremely rare for a Justice to talk about a case that is still pending. On September 1, the Court denied a stay in Whole Woman Health v. Jackson. But that case is now pending before the Court on plenary review. The parties filed a petition for certiorari before judgment. The case is pending. And I know from personal experience that Justice Sotomayor takes this issue seriously.

        In 2016, I mailed copies of my book “Unraveled” to all of the Justices. Several sent me very nice notes in response. Some of the Justices may have read the book on their Kindle. Chief Justice Roberts probably used it for kindling. Alas, Justice Sotomayor’s assistant mailed the book back. Her letter stated:

        Justice Sotomayor is grateful to you for sending her a copy of your book, Unraveled: Obamacare, Religious Liberty and Executive Power. While the Justice appreciates your kind gesture, unfortunately, she is unable to accept any materials that in any way relate to pending litigation that may come before the Supreme Court. For this reason, I am returning your book with this note. I hope you understand.

        By Justice Sotomayor’s own standard, her remarks about S.B. 8 crossed the line. To avoid any appearance of impropriety, she was unwilling to even accept a book that discussed an already-decided case. She returned the book to me–with taxpayer funded postage–lest anyone think that my writings influenced her opinion! Had she thrown the book in the trash, or the fireplace, no one would have ever known. Yet, she urged a public audience of attorneys to lobby against a law, the legality of which is presently before the Court. Indeed, Justice Sotomayor’s comments seemed to recognize she went too far.

        Will she recuse? Probably not. And does anyone doubt how she will vote in light of her dissent? Still, Justice Sotomayor exercised poor judgment here. When asked about a pending case, she should have simply said, “I cannot comment on a pending case.” “

    2. Svelaz, Alito was discussing a ruling that had already been made by the court. Sotomayor was discussing her opinion that could effect a decision that has not been made. It’s simple, Sotomayor was putting her finger on one side of the scale of justice. Of course respect for justice is something she has never had. What if Alito had said that the court needs a wise white women on the court. Some racism is more equal than other racism.

      1. The group that self identifies as progressives brook no dissent and never accept a loss. They prefer to change the rules of the game in response to a setback. In the USSC case, they threaten to pack the court now that it is majority conservative, even though there have been no landmark rulings adverse to progressives. To construe the Texas abortion case as a ruling of some kind is 100% incorrect and shows it is only another baseless attack on the court. Plus it is done intentionally. Why did they file when there was no case of a doctor performing an abortion post heartbeat in TX? They only needed to wait a few weeks, it has already happened.

        CA voting rules are being pushed by Pelosi in the House – Dems in the WH forever. Obama weaponized the FBI to spy on and damage the political opponent. There seems to be no limit to the depravity.

        -WSJ comment

  16. “’They Tell Me I Shouldn’t But . . .’: Sotomayor Calls on Law Students to Oppose the Texas Abortion Law”

    – Professor Turley

    Naturalization Acts of 1790, 1795, 1798 and 1802 (four iterations)

    United States Congress, “An act to establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization,” March 26, 1790

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That any Alien being a free white person, who shall have resided within the limits and under the jurisdiction of the United States for the term of two years, may be admitted to become a citizen thereof…

  17. OT

    This is but one unintended consequence of an unconstitutional election of an unconstitutional candidate who can never be a “natural born citizen” (i.e. Law of Nations, Book 1, Ch 19, Sec 212).

    “Kamala Harris nods [in agreement] as student talks of ‘ethnic genocide’ in Israel”

    – Daily Mail

    1. “Iran state media promotes video of Kamala Harris not pushing back on Israel ‘ethnic genocide’ claim”

      – Fox News

  18. “I believe that Justice Sotomayor has been a strong addition to the Court”
    Hard to take anything on this blog remotely seriously after seeing this…
    “My judgment is that when we look at the career of a progressive race activist of the late 20th century, institutional records and personal endorsements tell us just about nothing. Every rule can be, and is, bent for these people. What’s clear is that at Princeton, David Germany was first and foremost a student, and Sonia Sotomayor was first and foremost an activist. Why on earth would anyone expect her grades to mean anything?”

  19. Personally, I did not think Sotomayor was qualified for SCOTUS. Reasonable minds can differ on whether she was or not. However, this appears to me at least to represent a breach of judicial ethics. Not sure whether the Court can “discipline” a member or not. I believe that Congress can censure, but they won’t. And this is in no way an impeachable offense

      1. Justices should be confined to chambers and simply assure that actions comport with the “manifest tenor.”

        The Constitution does not ask their opinion and does not provide them the power to legislate, it compels them to merely implement literal fundamental law.

        Nothing more; nothing less.

        “…courts…must…declare all acts contrary to the manifest tenor of the Constitution void.”

        “…men…do…what their powers do not authorize, [and] what they forbid.”

        “[A] limited Constitution … can be preserved in practice no other way than through the medium of courts of justice, whose duty it must be to declare all acts contrary to the manifest tenor of the Constitution void. Without this, all the reservations of particular rights or privileges would amount to nothing … To deny this would be to affirm … that men acting by virtue of powers may do not only what their powers do not authorize, but what they forbid.”

        – Alexander Hamilton

      2. Under standard canons of judicial ethics and federal law (28 U.S.C. § 455) itself, Sotomayor should now be forced to recuse from future S.B. 8 litigation at the Supreme Court. She almost assuredly will not do so, of course.

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