Q&A

Sotomayor Explains "Wise Latina"

Following opening remarks from Patrick Leahy, senators launched into the question-and-answer portion of Sonia Sotomayor's Senate Judiciary Committee hearings. "The process of judging is the process of keeping an open mind," Sotomayor responded. She continued that unlike what she learned in law school, "the law is not legal theory—it's facts." Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy then asked her to explain the infamous "wise Latina" comment. "Here's your chance," he said to Sotomayor, "you tell us what's going on here, Judge." Sotomayor responded: "Thank you for giving me an opportunity to explain my remarks. No words I have ever spoken or written have received so much attention." She continued: "I want to state upfront, unequivocally, and without doubt I do not believe that any ethnic, racial or gender group has an advantage from sound judging." She said she was "trying to inspire" students "to believe that their life experiences would enrich the legal system. I do believe that every person has an equal opportunity to be a good and wise judge, regardless of their background or life experiences.”