Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor was frank about her feelings after she and her fellow justices ended their last term, expressing dismay Wednesday following rulings that included the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
Sotomayor is one of three liberal justices on the Supreme Court, along with Justices Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown Jackson. The other six were all appointed by Republican presidents, including three in the span of four years by former President Donald Trump.
‘I did have a sense of despair about the direction my court was going,’ Sotomayor said in an hour-long conversation that was part of The Association of American Law Schools’ annual meeting, according to Reuters.
Sotomayor did not mention by name the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization – which eliminated the Court’s recognition of a constitutional right to abortion – which was decided in the term’s final days. She did, however, say that she was ‘shell-shocked’ and ‘deeply sad’ by the time the term ended.
Nevertheless, Sotomayor said she did not have the luxury to dwell in those feelings.
‘It’s not an option to fall into despair,’ Sotomayor said. ‘I have to get up and keep fighting.’
Liberals have accused the Supreme Court of taking a hard, politically conservative turn with the additions of Trump-appointed Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett. Public opinion of the high court and its legitimacy has been a topic of discussion among officials and the justices themselves.
Chief Justice John Roberts came out those who questions the Court’s legitimacy in September.
‘If the court doesn’t retain its legitimate function of interpreting the Constitution, I’m not sure who would take up that mantle,’ he said. ‘You don’t want the political branches telling you want the law is. And you don’t want public opinion to be the guide of what the appropriate decision is.’
While Sotomayor is unhappy with the current state of the Supreme Court, she was confident that it will change.
‘It may take time but I believe we will get back on the right track,’ she said.