93 Best Sonia Sotomayor Quotes on Equality, Life and Justice

Sonia Sotomayor, born in 1954, is an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court since 2009, becoming the first Hispanic and third woman to serve on the Court.

Raised in the Bronx by Puerto Rican parents, she pursued law after being inspired by the TV show, Perry Mason.

After graduating from Princeton and Yale Law School, she worked as an assistant district attorney and in private practice before being appointed a federal judge by President George H.W. Bush.

She gained attention for ending the 1995 MLB strike and was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals by Bill Clinton.

Sonia Sotomayor

Despite controversy and initial concerns about her diabetes, she was nominated to the Supreme Court by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the Senate with a 68-31 vote in 2009.

Here is a best collection of quotes by Sonia Sotomayor.

Best Sonia Sotomayor Quotes

People who live in difficult circumstances need to know that happy endings are possible. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

Remember that no one succeeds alone. Never walk alone in your future paths. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

I’ve spent my whole life learning how to do things that were hard for me. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

The task of a judge is not to make the law – it is to apply the law. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.


My judicial philosophy is fidelity to the law. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

The Latina in me is an ember that blazes forever. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

I am an ordinary person who has been blessed with extraordinary opportunities and experiences. Today is one of those experiences. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

Although I grew up in very modest and challenging circumstances, I consider my life to be immeasurably rich. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

Even though Article IV of the Constitution says that treaties are the ‘supreme law of the land,’ in most instances they’re not even law. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

To me, lawyering is the height of service – and being involved in this profession is a gift. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

Until we get equality in education, we won’t have an equal society. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

Whether born from experience or inherent physiological or cultural differences, our gender and national origins may and will make a difference in our judging. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

Dressing badly has been a refuge much of my life, a way of compelling others to engage with my mind, not my physical presence. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

Meaningful Sonia Sotomayor Quotes

When I call myself an affirmative action baby, I’m talking about the essence of what affirmative action was when it started. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

Much of the uncertainty of law is not an unfortunate accident: it is of immense social value. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

I barely saw my mother, and the mom I saw was often angry and unhappy. The mother I grew up with is not the mother I know now. It’s not the mother she became after my father died, and that’s been the greatest prize of my life. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

I think being a Catholic made me a better person. It taught me how to choose good over evil, and how to be a more caring human being. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

A role model in the flesh provides more than inspiration; his or her very existence is confirmation of possibilities one may have every reason to doubt, saying, Yes, someone like me can do this. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.


There are no bystanders in this life. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

Each time I see a split infinitive, an inconsistent tense structure or the unnecessary use of the passive voice, I blister. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

I have spent my years since Princeton, while at law school and in my various professional jobs, not feeling completely a part of the worlds I inhabit. I am always looking over my shoulder wondering if I measure up. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

Top Sonia Sotomayor Quotes

I would warn any minority student today against the temptations of self-segregation: take support and comfort from your own group as you can, but don’t hide within it. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

The truth is that since childhood I had cultivated an existential independence. It came from perceiving the adults around me as unreliable, and without it I felt I wouldn’t have survived. I cared deeply for everyone in my family, but in the end I depended on myself. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

An alcoholic father, poverty, my own juvenile diabetes, the limited English my parents spoke – although my mother has become completely bilingual since. All these things intrude on what most people think of as happiness. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

I felt like everyone’s second choice, which is why a compliment could catch me off guard. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

I’m young at heart. I’m young in spirit, and I’m still adventurous. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

I honestly felt no envy or resentment, only astonishment at how much of a world there was out there and how much of it others already knew. The agenda for self-cultivation that had been set for my classmates by their teachers and parents was something I’d have to develop for myself. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

Sometimes, idealistic people are put off the whole business of networking as something tainted by flattery and the pursuit of selfish advantage. But virtue in obscurity is rewarded only in Heaven. To succeed in this world you have to be known to people. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

You can’t dream unless you know what the possibilities are. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

As you discover what strength you can draw from your community in this world from which it stands apart, look outward as well as inward. Build bridges instead of walls. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

It is very important when you judge to recognize that you have to stay impartial. That’s what the nature of my job is. I have to unhook myself from my emotional responses and try to stay within my unemotional, objective persona. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

Inspirational Sonia Sotomayor Quotes

In every position that I’ve been in, there have been naysayers who don’t believe I’m qualified or who don’t believe I can do the work. And I feel a special responsibility to prove them wrong. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

Although wisdom is built on life experiences, the mere accumulation of years guarantees nothing. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

We apply law to facts. We don’t apply feelings to facts. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

Don’t be shy about making a teacher of any willing party who knows what he or she is doing. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

Personal experiences affect the facts that judges choose to see. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

I have never, ever focused on the negative of things. I always look at the positive. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

I don’t believe we should bend the Constitution under any circumstance. It says what it says. We should do honor to it. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

There are drones flying over the air randomly that are recording everything that’s happening on what we consider our private property. That type of technology has to stimulate us to think about what is it that we cherish in privacy, and how far we want to protect it and from whom. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

Books are keys that unlock the wisdom of yesterday and open the door to tomorrow. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

Since I have difficulty defining merit and what merit alone means – and in any context, whether it’s judicial or otherwise – I accept that different experiences in and of itself, bring merit to the system. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

Famous Sonia Sotomayor Quotes

There are cultural biases built into testing, and that was one of the motivations for the concept of affirmative action – to try to balance out those effects. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

The first case I sat on was Citizens United. Talk about being thrown in. Needless to say, if I was scared before, I was terrified. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

I firmly believe in the rule of law as the foundation for all of our basic rights. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

I strive never to forget the real world consequences of my decisions on individuals, businesses and government. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

It is our responsibility to explain to the public how an often unpredictable system of justice is one that serves a productive, civilized, but always evolving society. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

A career is something that you train for and prepare for and plan on doing for a long time. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

This wealth of experiences, personal and professional, have helped me appreciate the variety of perspectives that present themselves in every case that I hear. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

The worst thing you want is a willy-nilly judge who is swayed by the political whims of the era or the time. What you want is a judge who is thinking about what he or she is doing and is thinking about it in a principled way. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

When you come from a background like mine, where you’re entering worlds that are so different than your own, you have to be afraid. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

I came to accept during my freshman year that many of the gaps in my knowledge and understanding were simply limits of class and cultural background, not lack of aptitude or application as I’d feared. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

Good people can do bad things, make bad decisions. It doesn’t make them bad people. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

You’ve got to get your education! It’s the only way to get ahead in the world. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

I think that even someone who got into an institution through affirmative action could prove they were qualified by what they accomplished there. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

That tide of insecurity would come in and out over the years, sometimes stranding me for a while but occasionally lifting me just beyond what I thought I could accomplish. Either way, it would wash over the same bedrock certainty: ultimately, I know myself. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

I was a keen observer and listener. I picked up on clues. I figured things out logically, and I enjoyed puzzles. I loved the clear, focused feeling that came when I concentrated on solving a problem and everything else faded out. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.


Diabetes taught me discipline. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

If the system is broken, my inclination is to fix it rather than to fight it. I have faith in the process of the law, and if it is carried out fairly, I can live with the results, whatever they may be. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

I have ventured to write more intimately about my personal life than is customary for a member of the Supreme Court, and with that candor comes a measure of vulnerability. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

In examining witnesses, I learned to ask general questions so as to elicit details with powerful sensory associations: the colors, the sounds, the smells that lodge an image in the mind and put the listener in the burning house. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

Unique Sonia Sotomayor Quotes

All judges have cases that touch our passions deeply, but we all struggle constantly with remaining impartial. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

I am a product of affirmative action. I am the perfect affirmative action baby. I am Puerto Rican, born and raised in the south Bronx. My test scores were not comparable to my colleagues at Princeton and Yale. Not so far off so that I wasn’t able to succeed at those institutions. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

It really takes growing up to treasure the specialness of being different. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

I have come to believe that in order to thrive, a child must have at least one adult in her life who shows her unconditional love, respect, and confidence. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

We educated, privileged lawyers have a professional and moral duty to represent the underrepresented in our society, to ensure that justice exists for all, both legal and economic justice. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

It’s not the heart that compels conclusions in cases, it’s the law. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

If your child marches to a different beat, a different drummer, you might just have to go along with that music. Help them achieve what’s important to them. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

What’s quote-unquote a ‘good’ lawyer, doctor, or whatever the profession is. And if you’re a male who grew up professionally in a male-dominated profession, then your image of what a good lawyer is a male image. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

So many people grew up with challenges, as I did. There weren’t always happy things happening to me or around me. But when you look at the core of goodness within yourself – at the optimism and hope – you realize it comes from the environment you grew up in. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

Inspiring Sonia Sotomayor Quotes

I would hope 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. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

We have to look and ensure that we’re paying attention to what we’re doing, so that we don’t reflexively institute processes and procedures that exclude people without thought. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

Success is its own reward, but failure is a great teacher too, and not to be feared. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

I have never had to face anything that could overwhelm the native optimism and stubborn perseverance I was blessed with. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

Oh my God, I don’t think you can say anyone looks forward to controversy. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

My job as a prosecutor is to do justice. And justice is served when a guilty man is convicted and an innocent man is not. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

I’m a New Yorker, and I jaywalk with the best of them. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

There are uses to adversity, and they don’t reveal themselves until tested. Whether it’s serious illness, financial hardship, or the simple constraint of parents who speak limited English, difficulty can tap unexpected strengths. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

I was raised in a Bronx public housing project, but studied at two of the nation’s finest universities. I did work as an assistant district attorney, prosecuting violent crimes that devastate our communities. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

Profound Sonia Sotomayor Quotes

I was fifteen years old when I understood how it is that things break down: people can’t imagine someone else’s point of view. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

The challenges I have faced – among them material poverty, chronic illness, and being raised by a single mother – are not uncommon, but neither have they kept me from uncommon achievements. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

A surplus of effort could overcome a deficit of confidence. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

Pretending to be a princess is fun, but it is definitely not a career. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

Sometimes, even if there was no useful advice to give, I saw that listening still helped. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.


Don’t mistake politeness for lack of strength. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

As members of the judiciary tasked with intervening to carry out the guarantee of equal protection, we ought not sit back and wish away, rather than confront, the racial inequality that exists in our society. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

The dynamism of any diverse community depends not only on the diversity itself but on promoting a sense of belonging among those who formerly would have been considered and felt themselves, outsiders. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

Thoughtful Sonia Sotomayor Quotes

Experience has taught me that you cannot value dreams according to the odds of their coming true. Their real value is in stirring within us the will to aspire. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

You know, failure hurts. Any kind of failure stings. If you live in the sting, you will – undoubtedly – fail. My way of getting past the sting is to say no, I’m just not going to let this get me down. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

In my experience when a friend unloaded about a boyfriend or spouse, the listener soaked up the complaint and remembered it long after the speaker had forgiven the offense. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

You make your life choices understanding that you might and do have to work harder to prove yourself. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

I am a very spiritual person. Maybe not traditionally religious in terms of Sunday Mass every week, that sort of thing. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

Without question, so many people, throughout my life, never think of Puerto Rico as part of the United States. Many people have no idea what the relationship is between Puerto Rico and the United States. And certainly, I have been asked if we are citizens. ~ Sonia Sotomayor.

So these were the 93 top Sonia Sotomayor quotes on Equality, Law, People, Life, Education and Justice, Success.

If you like these quotes and sayings, then you can also read my other posts on Charlie Mackesy quotes and Adrian Rogers quotes.

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Chandan Negi
Chandan Negi

I’m the Founder of Internet Pillar - I love sharing quotes and motivational content to inspire and motivate people - #quotes #motivation #internetpillar