Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Justice Sotomayor Makes Vocal Debut


On Monday, the Supreme Court began its new term with the formal debut of the Court’s first Latino Justice. Sonia Sotomayor did not hold back on her first day, in fact she asked as many questions and made as many comments as Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. It was only obvious that she was new on the few occasions she forgot to turn her microphone on before asking a question.

During this first case, President Obama’s appointee was more active than she was last month when the court held a special rehearing on campaign finance reform.

Justice Sotomayor was not the only member of the bench  to be vocal; all of the Justices – except for Justice Clarence Thomas, who customarily refrains from asking questions during oral argument – were more active than usual during this first session. Questioning and commenting is not unusual for Sotomayor, rather it solidifies the reputation she earned on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit in New York.

Monday’s case focused on how long the police must honor a suspect’s request for an attorney. At one point Justice Alito raised a hypothetical question regarding the length of time between the request and the next interaction with police. Sotomayor joined in and asked: “He is arrested for joy riding, he is let go, and you are saying that for 20, 40 years he is now immunized from being re-approached by the police?”

The Supreme Court term runs through June.

The Washington Post