Gender and the Law Prof Blog

Editor: Tracy A. Thomas
University of Akron School of Law

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Underestimating Justice Sotomayor

MSNBC explores How Sotomayor Undermined Obama's NSA as the lone dissent that understood the changing dynamics of privacy in this day and age.  But the greater message is more profound: that her gravitas was underestimated because of her gender and race.

Adam Winkler (UCLA) says, “Justice Sotomayor has been underestimated at every stage of her life.” “Sotomayor was underestimated in part because she was the first Latina, it was easy to say she didn’t have the skills and she was an affirmative action baby, but it was an absurd claim then and it’s now being shown to be absurd.”

Larry Tribe (Harvard) says, “I greatly underestimated how powerful a jurist Justice Sotomayor would be. From the start, she has been an enormously impressive justice, making a major impact in cases like Jones, among many others,” Tribe wrote in an email. “I now regard her as a major force on the Court – someone who is likely to make a historic contribution – and I have no doubt that I was totally wrong in my initial expressions of doubt.”

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