New York Law School

Author Archive

Identity, Judicial Philosophy, and Decision-Making

Leading up to and during her confirmation hearings, now-Justice Sonia Sotomayor received a significant amount of criticism for her 2001 remark 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.” This statement stoked a greater debate among the American public regarding whether personal background has a place in judicial decision-making. Those who criticized Justice Sotomayor’s statement saw it as the first step toward bias or a basis for judicial activism. Those who agreed with Justice Sotomayor pointed to the fact that law, while often abstract, has real-world implications. Certainly there is value in the discussion about whether judges should rule with…

Click here to read the rest of this post as a PDF.