Sotomayor Underscores Lack of Diversity in the Judiciary

Noting a “crying need” for better lawyering in the field of immigration law, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor recently addressed law school students at the American University Washington College of Law. She stated that she “saw ‘horrible lawyers’ and ‘terrible fraud’ committed by lawyers who charged large fees in immigration cases but did not know what they were doing” as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit from 1999 to 2008.

Sotomayor stressed that the “lack of diversity in race, gender and background poses a ‘huge danger’ to the judiciary, both federal and state.”

A good read is Sotomayor’s book My Beloved World (I am fortunate to have an autographed copy).

A brief excerpt of an early childhood experience that set the stage for Sotomayor’s resolute strength of character:

Sotomayor was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes when she was almost eight years old and is insulin-dependent. Early on when her parents argued about who would administer the injection without panicking, missing, and stabbing her in the wrong place, in the midst of an argument, she decided to do it herself.

It then dawned on me: if I needed to have these shots every day for the rest of my life, the only way I’d survive was to do it myself.

Not yet eight years old, I was barely tall enough to see the top of the stove, and I wasn’t sure how to perform the tricky maneuver with match and gas to light the burner. So I dragged a chair the couple of feet from table to stovethe kitchen was tinyand climbed up to figure it out.

I held my breath, and I gave myself the shot.

But believing that my life now depended on this morning ritual, I would soon figure out how to manage the time efficiently: to get dressed, brush my teeth, and get ready for school in the intervals while the pot boiled or cooled. I probably learned more self-discipline from living with diabetes than I ever did from the Sisters of Charity.

I suppose Sotomayor would like Alfred Adler’s quotation:

My difficulties belong to me!

There is a patient archetype involving diabetes care:

Assisting patients with the hard psychological work of coming to grips with their diagnosis—which might take them through denial, anger, and bargaining before they reach acceptance—is a major challenge.

And for Sotomayor, the challenge evolved into a success story as she attained the distinction of becoming the first Latina Supreme Court Justice.



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