Kitty Felde

Wise Latina

Senator Jon Kyl, the Republican Whip from Arizona, tackled the "wise Latina" quote head-on, asking whether the Judge had ever seen a wise Latina make a better judicial decision.

At length, Judge Sotomayor explained "those wise men and wise women did reach did reach different conclusions in deciding cases." She said the quote came from a speech intended to inspire young women and men to pursue the law and echoed a statement made by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. She added that she never understood Justice O'Connor to say that those who disagreed were unwise. She also cited Justice Samuel Alito at his confirmation hearing when he spoke of his Italian ancestors coming to this country.

Sotomayor said she didn't think students would have been misled by her statements. "What they would think is that I was talking about the value life experiences have" in the process of making judicial decisions. "That’s the context."

"The words I chose? Taking the rhetorical flourish" she described as "a bad idea."

"I believe every person regardless of background can be good and wise judges."

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