Liberal U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor defended conservative icon Justice Clarence Thomas during a Roosevelt University lecture Thursday.
“I try to find the good in everybody,” the liberal justice began. “Because if I can treat them as people with good things inside of me, they can feel it. They can feel that there are things inside them that I can value.”
“I have disagreed with him more than with any other justice,” Justice Sotomayor said, referring to Justice Thomas. “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.”
Sotomayor said no other justice is as knowledgeable or caring about others working with the justices. She added that she tries but he is better at it than she is because he cares about people. Justice Sotomayor acknowledged Thomas manifests his care differently in legal matters than she does.
The liberal justice explained that Thomas believes that since he succeeded despite growing up dirt poor that everyone is capable of similarly lifting themselves up by their bootstraps.
“I understand that some people can’t reach their bootstraps,” Sotomayor stated. “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.”
Legal scholar Jonathan Turley noted the conservative justice was effectively canceled by students of George Washington University Law School because of his role in overturning Roe v. Wade.
Turley questioned the absence of voices raised in defense of Thomas by law professors, staff or administration officials.
“He was known as someone who took personal interest in his students and has helped many young lawyers in their careers,” Turley said about Thomas. “Yet, some faculty members and students celebrated his resignation as a triumph.”
Roe v. Wade’s demise prompted former First Lady Hillary Clinton to verbally attack Thomas in June.
“I went to law school with Justice Thomas,” Clinton told CBS reporter Gayle King. “He’s been a person of grievance for as long as I have known him — resentment, grievance, anger. He has signaled in the past to lower courts, to state legislatures, ‘Find cases. Pass laws. Get them up. I may not win the first, the second, or the third time, but we’re going to keep at it.”
“The thing that is, well, there are so many things about it that are deeply distressing but women are going to die,” Clinton continued. “Women are going to die, Gayle. Women will die.”
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