“He Cares about People”: Sotomayor Praises Thomas As Professors and Pundits Pile on Personal Attacks

We have been discussing personal attacks on conservative justices with figures like Vice President Kamala Harris and Berkeley Law Dean Erwin Chemerinsky  calling them “partisans” and “partisan hacks.” Justices like recently retired Justice Stephen Breyer and the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg pushed back on such attacks on their conservative colleagues as well as calls for court packing. Now, Justice Sonia Sotomayor has defended her colleague and friend Justice Clarence Thomas as a compassionate and caring jurist.

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, one of the Court’s most strident liberals, praised her conservative colleague, Justice Clarence Thomas, in a lecture at Roosevelt University in Chicago on Thursday evening, noting his unique compassion for others.

Sotomayor was quoted as saying:

I have disagreed with [Thomas] more than with any other justice. Which means we don’t come together on many cases. And yet I can tell you that I spend time with him, understanding that he 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.

There’s no other justice who does that. I try, but he does it better. He cares about people. Now, he cares on legal interests differently. And he sees those legal issues much differently than I do. 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. I understand that some people can’t reach their bootstraps. 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.

I have recounted similar accounts of Thomas as a long-standing professor at our law school before a cancel campaign and his withdrawal to the great loss of our students. He was known as someone who took personal interest in his students and has helped many young lawyers in their careers. Yet, some faculty members and students celebrated his resignation as a triumph.

What is most distressing is the participation of journalists and law professors in this unhinged rage. Despite the recent attempted assassination of Justice Brett Kavanaugh, an editor wrote about his fantasy of the death of Justice Samuel Alito.

As protesters descended on the homes of justices, Georgetown Law Professor Josh Chafetz declared that “when the mob is right, some (but not all!) more aggressive tactics are justified.” Most recently, the dean and chancellor of University of California Hastings College of the Law David Faigman questioned the very legitimacy of the Court after the ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.  

Sotomayor’s words will likely be ignored by most critics and the personal attacks on the justices will not only continue but increase with another term brimming with major challenges in areas like voting rights and affirmative action.

80 thoughts on ““He Cares about People”: Sotomayor Praises Thomas As Professors and Pundits Pile on Personal Attacks”

  1. OT: “Distressing video shows chaos on subway as 15-year-old Jayjon Burnett is shot and killed”


    This type of violence and death is running rampant in Democrat controlled cities because Democrats either are stupid or intentionally causing harm everywhere they are in power. Vote against Democrats. The violence has to stop.

  2. Senora Sotomayor, please explain to Americans how the American Founders and Framers lost their country, their Constitution and their immigration law to illegal aliens

    You don’t suppose it was the failure of the Supreme Court to support the Constitution, and to strike down all unconstitutional acts by the legislative and executive branches by Judicial Review, do you?

    Naturalization Acts of 1790, 1795, 1798 and 1802

    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…

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  4. Professor, four months ago, Sotomayor said this:


    Those who are not familiar with Thomas’ controversy should look what happened under the stewardship of then Senator Joe Biden (D-DL) after the confirmation processJ in Judiciary Committee was concluded and Anita Hill’s private FBI interview was leaked to “American Spectator” back in 1991 [1].

    Great 1/20 documentary: “Created Equal: Clarence Thomas In His Own Words.”

    [1] Also interesting: Reactions after President Reagan nominated Robert Bork for associate justice of the SCOTUS back in 1987.

  5. make lists of these nihilist filth who dare call for and approve assassinating or even cancelling a Supreme Court justice. When their precious civil war starts, they should be the first to experience it.

  6. I don’t find Sotomayor’s comment soothing or meaningful at all. It reeks of condescension, -that is to say, she implies that she understands the law better than he does, but, but, but on a personal level, he is a kind person. Puleeeze.

  7. He was known as someone who took personal interest in his students and has helped many young lawyers in their careers.

    Justice Clarence Thomas credits his grandparents for his Catholic Faith: his views about creation, our place in it and the greater picture. Being Roman Catholic means thinking with the Catholic Church which dates to Jesus Christ choosing the Apostle Peter as the leader of His fishers of men. The Catholic Faith is a difficult faith. We are not sola scriptura fundamentalists. There is nothing black and white about Catholicism, unlike the zeitgeist of our current world. The Catholic Faith is one of Faith & Reason, as Pope John Paul II articulated in his masterful encyclical, Fides et Ratio.

    Justice Thomas likely feels hurt by the irreligious Left penchant for calumny. Insults is all they have. However, as a Catholic, he knows that following Christ as a disciple, imperfectly as that may be for all of us, also has its bitter promises: a pierced heart. Another promise is that nothing the irreligious Left or the world can do can separate Justice Thomas from the love of Christ. As he states beautifully in his presentation at the 2021 Tocqueville Lecture at University of Notre Dame’s DeBartolo Performing Arts Center, he has received many graces from God for being so single-minded vis a vis feed my sheep as Jesus Christ told His followers to do. This is why Justice Thomas takes a personal interest in… students and has helped many young …. in their careers. Justice Sotomayor wisely stated:

    ….he 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.

    There’s no other justice who does that. I try, but he does it better.

    There is a reason for that Justice Sotomayor.

    The following presentation by Justice Thomas at Notre Dame is golden.

    1. Justice Thomas gets it

      Thomas spoke of his second grade teacher Sister Mary Dolorosa’s catechism lessons, during which she would ask the class why God had created them.

      “In unison our class of about 40 kids would answer loudly, reciting the Baltimore Catechism: ‘God created me to know love and serve him in this life and to be happy with him in the next,’” he said.

      “Through many years of school and extensive reading since then, I have yet to hear a better explanation of why we are here. It was the motivating truth of my childhood and remains a central truth today,” he said.


      1. That’s interesting. I’d think Presbyterians and Catholics are about as far apart as two denominations can be, yet here’s something else they have in common. The Westminster catechism makes a similar statement: “What is the chief end of man? Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.” Same thing.

      2. Estovir: Thank you for that insight. I did think highly of the genuine friendship between Ginsburg and Scalia. –Not so much, Sotomayor.

    2. Years ago, I was at the Capitol Rotunda when Billy Graham was lying-in-state. Justice Sotomayor walked past me with her security and spoke to the Graham children. I was close enough to hear how incredibly gracious and kind she was with the family. I am opposed to almost everything she stands for on the bench, but I’ll never forget the humanity she exhibited that day. In a country divided, I love that two opposing justices respect each other and are open about their friendship. Scalia’s friendship with RBG was a similar beacon of hope.

      1. How close were you? And there were “her security” surrounding her?
        Personal condolences are meant to be personal. Perhaps she spoke just a little too loudly so that people would see how kind she was.

        1. Sotomayor gets very close to everyone. I don’t like her as a Supreme Court Justice, but when I met her I thought she genuinely liked people and I liked her. She seemed very good natured, but probably gave those looking after her safety a bit of discomfort.

        2. I was within an arms length, close to next in line and she stepped into an established line (perfectly acceptable). No one was eavesdropping, it’s just how it was arranged. If she’d wanted a private conversation, I assume she could have arranged it.

      2. I have known Justice Sotomayor personally for over 20 years. I do not always agree with her judicial opinions, but I have found her to be a woman of good character and sound judgment. She is an extraordinarily compassionate woman. I am proud of her and her achievements. What many folks do not realize is that Justice Sotomayor had a great deal of judicial experience before her appointment to the United States Supreme Court, beginning with her appointment to the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. She was a judge in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals when I first met her.

        1. I can think of few justices that have not had extensive judicial experience before reaching the supreme court.
          While that is not a requirement – it is the norm.

          I am glad Sotomayor is compassionate and of good character.
          Those are attributes that might have value for a trial court judge.

          They have no relevance at the appelate level.
          There is an aphorism – hard cases make bad law.

          An appellate decision must hinge on the law and constitution – not compassion for one defendant or disgust at the horrors of another.

          Quite litterally the claim that the supreme court needs women, or minorities, or Catholics or Jews is about as wrong as can be.

          Those perspectivies may matter for those crafting the law. They should have no impact on those interpreting the law.

    3. “Justice Thomas likely feels hurt by the irreligious Left penchant for calumny. Insults is all they have”

      Yet you post the some of the nastiest and consistent homophobic insults on this blog.

      It’s not an “irreligous Left penchant” any more than it’s a “religious Right penchant.” It’s the penchant of some people, and you’re one of them.

      1. I have not read every post by Estovir, but I do not recall homophobic posts.

        It is typical for those on the left to conflate policy differences with racism or homophobia.

        Someone just cited a black WSJ reporters book “Please stop helping”

        I do not know the book but the tittle is reflective of the differences between left and right.

        The policies of the left to help the less fortunate are the most potent forces that assure that the less fortunate remain the less fortunate.

        While the complete disinterest of the right in the plight of the less fortunate – as a whole, are the most potent force ending their misfortune.

        One of the most important lessons I have learned in life is that even when the actual malevolence of another person has caused me very real harm, I am the only person who can take my life back.

        I will not pretend that others in life have not been through worse. Nor that on the whole I have been fortunate and had a good life.
        But I have had multiple incredibly dark experiences I would not wish on anyone else, and fortunately few experience.
        These have driven me to very dark places. No punishment to the evildoers, no compensation for the harms, would or could bring light into the darkness. That is something each of us must do for ourselves. The compassion of others sometimes helps – though often it can be a force holding us down. The very fact that I was not responsible for the deep dark hole I was in made getting out harder. Constantly assuring me that others were to blame, distracted from the FACT that only I could put my life back together.

        Such is true for all of us. Not matter what hole you are in, a canyon or a rut, no one else can get you out.
        Your life, your happiness are your responsibility alone.

        1. The paid troll to whom you are replying is doing what he is paid to do: insult, create chaos, draw attention to his preferred topic. He has gone by scores of sock puppets but his verbiage is unique to his writing voice. FWIW, said troll stated years ago that he lives in West Hollywood, hikes in the hills near there and enjoys what WeHo has to offer. OTOH it is well known that I am published HIV Cardiology researcher, care for HIV+ minority (hispanic, black, arab) patients in clinic and advocate for gay, lesbian, bi and trans patients.

          Catholicism is a beautiful, rich, intellectually challenging Faith. It has served me well since my parents demonstrated it to me in our home and I cherish it, much like Justice Thomas, Scalia, et al. Detractors are part of life. Choosing to ignore them is the smartest option. I suggest the latter.

          1. I do not fixate on your or anyone else’s history – that is my choice, not some obligation I seek to impose on others.
            I beleive I have disagreed with some of your posts, and agreed with others. That is the norm – we are not all the same.

            I do not share some of your views, but you argue them with facts, logic, reason.

            That is supposed to be the real liberal order. The destruction of that is why we are nationally and globally in chaos and anarchy.
            It is why our institutions are not trusted. It is why they should not be trusted.

            I am catholic today in the same sense that some people are Jews. I was born catholic, raised catholic. Even taught CCD for many years.
            I have mostly good recollections of the catholic church – though like most Catholics I have a few stories of nuns with rulers. But I am not part of it today. I am not part of any church. I loosely consider my self a practicing christian – meaning I practice the teachings of Christ. Not meaning I am part of any church.
            I practice charity. Though one thing I have learned in life is that charity does less to improve the world – particularly the worst off, than freedom, and free markets. I believe I do more good for the world creating business, hiring people to work for me, producing things of value. That I do providing food to homeless shelters. Regardless, I am more proud of my own successes and those that I have helped others acheive, than of acts of charity.

    4. Give us a break. The first Pope didn’t even come on the scene until 350 AD. Had absolutely nothing to do with Peter. And the word “Pope” is not even in the Bible. Roman Catholicism did nothing but form Pharisaical committees to stamp out Christianity for at least throughout the dark ages and it murdered those who tried to get the Word of God into the hands of the common man with regularity. Tyndale was burned at the stake for translating the Bible and Martin Luther almost got the same thing, except friends helped him escape.

    5. Estovir……..Thank you for sharing your rich knowlege, beautifully stated. I have been in awe of Justice Thomas ever since I read about his Gullah beginnings.

      1. At home we recently read The Story of a Soul: The Autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux, by one of the greatest Catholic mystics. I read it in college and reading it again had so much more significance.

        In the biographies and writings of the Catholic mystics like St Francis of Assisi, St John of the Cross, St Theresa of Avila, St Mother Teresa of Calcutta, and others, the more they grow in their Faith, the more they suffer, a “piercing of the heart”. Their piercing produces a mysticism and holiness that makes those in their midst see them as living flames of love, as bearers of Christ, as people whom they wish to emulate. Alas, for the person who has their heart pierce, they see nothing but suffering and a further clinging for the Cross of Christ, seeking His mercy and consolation. I think Clarence Thomas is reflecting some of these attributes given his difficult past and present martyrdom.

        TL;DR: Christianity is a folly to the unbeliever, but the Way to the disciple. We are “fools” for Christ, a good thing

        Thanks for your kind words, Cindy

        Let no one deceive himself. If any one among you considers himself wise in this age, let him become a fool so as to become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in the eyes of God, for it is written:
        “He catches the wise in their own ruses,”
        and again: “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.”
        So let no one boast about human beings, for everything belongs to you,
        Paul or Apollos or Cephas, or the world or life or death, or the present or the future: all belong to you,
        and you to Christ, and Christ to God.

        1 Corinthians 3:18-23

  8. “Lift up by your own bootstraps.”

    I’ve seen leftist get terribly lost in trying to apply this analogy. Some try to figure out how standing in your boots and tugging in the straps accomplishes anything. Here a SCOTUS Justice dismisses the concept by simply claiming the persons arms are too short and legs too long. Her analogy, that the people cannot care for themselves. By extension she sees her role in being the conduit for helping people….ignoring the simple fact the Constitution offers no such path for any part to the Federal Govt., least of all SCOTUS.

    Very simply lifting your self up by your bootstraps just means work. Boots represent the action needed to work. Lift up your boot straps to pull them on your feet. To work. That is the key to success.

    1. Sotomayor looks at the outliers, Thomas looks at the greater population. Destroying the greater population for the sake of the outlier is crazy. The outliers are more likely to get what they need when the markets are strong not when they are weak.

  9. Jason Reilly the Black editorial writer for the Wall Street Journal wrote a wonderful book, which Justice Sotomayor should read and the title says it all, “PLEASE Stop Helping Us!”

  10. This is how the nation begins to come back together. Sotomayor is being honest and complimentary in her assessment of Thomas, but still disagrees with his Constitutional views. We can agree to disagree and be civil to one another.

    I give her credit for being kind and honest. Thank you Justice Sotamayor.

    1. Sotomayor is a kind and honest woman. Her mindset, however, looks to make things better on an individual basis. She doesn’t belong on the Supreme Court because of that wonderful mindset. The Supreme Court is supposed to judge constitutionality, not what one thinks is the kindest and most generous to the individual.

  11. It’s funny reading Turley’s column about personal attacks on justices and seeing more personal attacks on justices here. Apparently they didn’t get the point. They are miffed at the idea that she is defending him. We can’t have that. That would make her a decent person. What travesty this is. Righties sure loves their oxymoronic positions.

    1. Svelaz: Yes, kindness begins at home, doesn’t it? Please go back and read your comments over the last several months. With all due respect and regard, yours truly, lin.

  12. “Now, he cares on legal interests differently.”

    True. Thomas cares about our Constitution; Sotomayor cares about power and her political party.

  13. Only a nation that has gone insane with homosexuality would allow a woman to hold a position in politics or the judiciary.

  14. Calling the Republican members of SCOTUS “partisan hacks” is not a personal attack, it a simple statement of fact.

    1. Any miscreant can call names. Other than you disagree with their interpretation of the law, back up your claims . In near every case there is an Opinion written explaining the legal basis for the courts decision. If you can back your claim with imperial evidence then an impeachment should be forth coming.

    2. …says the Russian bot.

      You are sad. We understand. Nobody believes your hoaxes anymore. Over half of Americans admit the election was stolen, the others simply ignorant or outright lying. But you have failed to convict Trump of any crime, SCOTUS is busy rolling back 100 years of Democrat cheats and hacks, and all you have to look forward to is a shellacking this November; decades of political irrelevance; and President Trump’s second term. So sad!

    3. And people lacking scruples like you for example perpetuate and indulge in this leftist lynch mob mentality with relish. If you could see your hypocrisy and hate from afar ……

    4. If there are any “partisan hacks” around here, look in a mirror. You’ll find one looking right back at you. Not a personal attack, just simple fact. You’re welcome.

    5. Then you would be able to support it with actual evidence.

      I frequently disagree with conservative members of the court. I not only think they are wrong, but often obviously so.

      But each of them is individually very consistent. Further they are consistent with the rule of law. I always know exactly how to correct an error by a conservative justice – change the law or change the constitution.

      None of that is true of those on the left. There is no remedy for justices that find in the law whatever they want.

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