“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.

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

  1. Sotomayor is a bigot – she selectively chooses certain people to have low expectations of …. The bigotry of low expectations! Who is she to make such a demeaning assessment of another person?

  2. What Sotomayor doesn’t understand, like most liberal activist judges, is that it doesn’t matter if they can reach their bootstraps or not. What is the law? Nothing more, nothing less. What is the law?

    1. This time they re gonna get him. Orange man finito, gone, jail time. This time the witch hunting will be successfull. Just you wait and see.

  3. What does one say anymore? You can’t appease the insane, you can only marginalize them. There is nothing sane remaining about America’s modern left. You can’t argue with the insane, either. Vote them out. The party of JFK is dead and buried. Really, it’s dead, buried, and gone. As in it no longer exists as a thing. That is not what you are supporting anymore. And conversely, the modern GOP wants nothing to do with the likes of Ann Coulter or Bill O’Reilly or Mitch McConnell. Human beings are, in theory, endlessly adaptable, and this is just getting stupid. I appreciate the analysis, but it sure seems to be saying the same dang thing, over and over. American Democrats have become the elite totalitarians they always warned against. This is not 1968.

  4. George Carlin once said: Think about how stupid the average American is; then realize that half of them are stupider than that. Soto is right, many are incapable of pulling themselves up by their bootstraps. The problem is, it’s not the role of the SCROTUS (Supremely Corrupt Reprobates of the U.S.) to legislate remedies for that unfortunate reality from the bench…

  5. I think Justice Thomas should wear those criticisms as a sacred Badge of Honor because he has exceeded those individuals by virtually all yardsticks imaginable. I appreciate Justice Sotomayor’s statement but when she talks about bootstraps I doubt she has any concept of the poverty he lived in and how low he was in that era. Justice Thomas and I are about 3 months different in age and both born in rural Georgia. I am white so I did not have as far to climb as he did. The poverty outside the city of Atlanta in the that era would be unimaginable to most people writing on this blog. For white and black both but especially for black Americans. I am sure he knows better than just about anyone how hard the ladder is to climb and how far down the lowest rung really is. Justice Sotomayor’s life was plush by comparison.

  6. That’s a fundamental difference in how we view what the law can or should or does do for people.

    That one word, for, tells me everything about her judicial philosophy. I always believed the role of SCOTUS was to make decisions on what the law is doing to people; meaning is it unconstitutional. Justice Sotomayor’s view is more legislative in nature. Dobbs is a great example between her and Justice Thomas. Her view was what Roe can or should do for women. Thomas’ view is what Roe did to the right’s of states.

  7. How patronizing, “I understand that some people can’t reach down for their bootstraps”, what a truly stupid and arrogant thing to say. Cuz the truth is we aren’t talking about being a SCOTUS judge. We are just talking about getting a job and building up your work ethic enough to support yourself. Don’t have to become some hotshot executive. AND ANYONE WHO IS MENTALLY HEALTHY CAN DO THAT. But hey, if Soto had to admit that, then her entire worldview would collapse. She’d have to realize she’s useless….

  8. I’m sure Justice Sotomayor wants to be nice but how can he care about people and sign on to the decisions joined. He loves people but hates democracy. He loves people but wants to limit, cut back or completely destroy their rights. No, he doesn’t love people. He may be nice to people he knows but I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that some of those people are the same ones that his decisions are putting their very lives at risk.

    1. Justice Holmes, I was waiting for someone to present the devil argument. It didn’t take long. Your devil argument is followed by your killing of Democracy argument but you argue in favor of laws past by edict instead of legislatures. Based on your actions your concern for Democracy is greatly over exaggerated and founded on a lack of understanding about what Democracy is.

    2. Justice Holmes doesn’t understand that the Court isn’t in the “give people rights” business, it is in the “let’s see if the CONSTITUTION gave them the right”. Sotomeyer also wants the Court to make the laws help people, but it is the Congress that makes the laws that can help people.

      Holmes, how exactly does Thomas “hate democracy”? IS it by doing things like opening the border contrary to our laws, packing the Court, adding states, having the Executive hand out THREE HUNDRED BILLION DOLLARS to one particular group, ban landlords from evicting non-paying tenants, federalizing elections or maybe even asking the Saudis to hold off on an oil cutback until after the election? COuld it be having the DOJ send SWAT teams after Republicans or abortion protesters and they ignore the fire bombing of pro-life centers? Id it the FBI lying on FISA applications to go after Republicans? Id it Peter Strozk or the IRS targeting Republicans? Who exactly is the threat to Democracy? You partisan, weak-minded, moron,

    3. Justice Holmes, you are very confusing. Do you know who Justice Sotomayor is? It seems like you don’t. Based on all your responses it doesn’t seem that you know much of anything. Let me solve your first and most notable problem. Justice Sotomayor is a woman not a man. You referred to her as a ‘he’ instead of a ‘she’ five times.

      Thank you for confirming my assumptions about you.

  9. Dear Justice Sotamayer

    No country in the world does more in its laws for people who can’t reach their boostraps than the United States. What you don’t seem to realize is that the role of making those laws is not yours; it’s Congress’

  10. If you want to know where Justice Thomas’s roots are you should read is biography. “My Grandfathers Son.” Sotomayor says that some people can’t reach their bootstraps but Thomas’s bootstraps were as far down as they could be but he still strapped them up everyday. His Grandfather refused to let him live in the victimhood mindset and it made all the difference in his life. This is why he gave all the credit to a Grandfather made up of grit and fiber. Sotomayor recognizes that the Grandfather passed on his grit and fiber to his Grandson.

  11. Clarence Thomas loves, gets to know, and personally helps all people from all walks of life. Very few people in positions of power do that. His day job, however, is to dispassionately hear and rule on cases brought before the Supreme Court. He looks at the facts of each case and at the relevant statutes and/or portions of the Constitution as written, not as he wishes they had been written.

  12. In the greater scheme of things, especially as to how history will see these events, these Justices are beginning realize just what destruction to this nation this prog/left ideological juggernaut is proving to be.

    1. Even Trump cares about people – but mostly about himself. Clarence is a hard one to figure out.

          1. “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities but of their advantages.”
            Adam Smith.

            Mother Therasa is an incredible person.

            Donald Trump has benefited the world more – including the poor – by what he has selfishly done. His pursuit of his own self interests, provides homes, entertainment, jobs for thoudsands of people – who in turn provide jobs and oportunities to even more.

            In the entire history of the world all charity combined has benefited the world less than the collapse of socialism in the last half of the 20th century and the rise – even partially of free markets.

            In 1965 the earth had 3.5B people millions were starving. and Paul Ehrlich proclaimed the population bomb would kill hundreds of millions.
            Instead the earth’s population has more than doubled, we grow 4 times as much food on half as much land, and no one in the world starves but for political barriers to growing and distributing food. In fact every country int he world today would be capable of feeding its own people – but for political issues – war, revoltion, war lords.

            The poor in the US are the top 1% of the world. The poor in the world live better than kings millennia ago.

      1. I don’t know how much anyone cares about other people, but one thing is certain about Trump, his policies cared for people all over the world especially Americans. He helped promote peace while others bring us closer to a nuclear disaster.

  13. While on SCOTUS, I see the rookie is intent on ignoring the sage advice of Mark Twain.

    “It’s better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than open it and remove all doubt”

    She has spoken at oral arguments almost as much as the next three justices combined. Her actions are such a raw example of exactly how shallow and unprepared she is for the task at hand. Any person with the requisite experience knows that you make yourself known by your actions, not the spoken word. I cant think of any person that talks too much, has made a positive impression on me. A few well placed words gets my attention, more than lengthy monologues.
    I remember sitting in a meeting as a new hire. While most gave their input and supported the position with conviction, I said little. Finally the COO asked why I had said little. I just explained I did not know the inner workings of the project, and I had not yet learned enough to ask an intelligent question. I wouldn’t be able to offer an opinion until latter.

  14. Before I read the headline, I knew she would repeat the bit about Thomas knowing all the people in the building, and what is going on in their life. Its safe, and meaningless.
    I would be impressed if she defended a decision or two Thomas has written. But the ability to appreciate the other sides, constitutional acumen, was a bridge to far for her. Thomas has built an impressive book of Constitutional scholarship, in his written opinions.
    I’m still waiting for people to attack the rulings and not the justices personally. Too much to wish for with leftist attack dogs.

    1. Iowan2 says,

      “ I’m still waiting for people to attack the rulings and not the justices personally. Too much to wish for with leftist attack dogs.”

      Like this?

      “ While on SCOTUS, I see the rookie is intent on ignoring the sage advice of Mark Twain.

      “It’s better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than open it and remove all doubt”

      She has spoken at oral arguments almost as much as the next three justices combined. Her actions are such a raw example of exactly how shallow and unprepared she is for the task at hand.”

      Oops, that was you.

      What did she say that was wrong?

      1. Svelaz thinks the young, no experience rookie is taking the proper path by denying 8 other justices the time to ask questions.
        Go ahead a defend such a selfish display of of ego. Her actions here contradict her words. I am judging her actions. Her actions to demonstrate her shallowness, lack of life experience, and an ego that demands she be heard. Again judge her actions, not smearing her personally.

      2. The people you are calling rookies – have been the top judges and lawyers in the country for decades.

        1. Rookie as far as SCOTUS is concerned. There is nothing to prepare a person for the prestige of sitting on the Supreme Court, it cannot be prepared for. Its kind of like being named head coach of a top twenty college team, having been nothing but an assistant at some of those same colleges. Its not all drawing up plays. There is massive amounts of trench work that need to be down. None seen by the public. JKB thinks impressing the public is some measure of competence. Its not.

          Only a person with some self awareness and is able to demonstrate true humility, is secure enough in their skin, they don’t seek out attention. My guess, 8 justices are crafting a message to be delivered in person, one one, to explain the concept to this rookie.

          1. The most fundimental difference with SCOTUS is that there is no appeal to a SCOTUS decision.
            Otherwise it is just a step up the ladder.

            SCOTUS does have its hazing Rituals. Jackson is likely to have to man the door at conferences for the forseable future.
            Barret, Kavanaugh and Gorsuch only had to be low man on the totem pole for short term.

            I could not have confirmed Jackson as Senator. But she is there now. And if she is overstepping – then it is Roberts job to reign her in.

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