Traditionally, Supreme Court Justices have had to present a neutral front, politically. They can not be vocal advocates or protestors aligned with either major party. They are executors of law after all.
In light of that and in the wake of the election, Justice Sonia Sotomayor has had to measure her response to the new President-elect Donald Trump, with care.
On Tuesday night, Sotomayor said the country can’t afford for a president to fail and that:
“… We can’t afford to despair.”
The press core wanted to address the pink elephant in the room and asked Sotomayor this:
“Are you in any way apprehensive about what happened in this nation last Tuesday?”
In a skilled, yet revealing answer Justice Sotomayor had this to say:
“I’m going to demur from answering that question that way. I will answer it in a different way, which is I think that this is the time where every good person has an obligation both to continue being heard and to continue doing the right thing.”
In other words, keep holding Trump’s feet to the accountability fire. She continued:
“We can’t afford for a president to fail. And it is true… that we have to support that which he does which is right and help guide him to those right decisions. But we can’t afford to despair, and we can’t afford to give up our pursuing of values that we and others have fought so hard to achieve. And so for me, this is a challenge. So I’m going to continue doing what I think is the right thing. That’s the challenge we all have to face.”
In other words, keep calm and carry on with a big stick in your hand.
Justice Sotomayor, who is 62 and a liberal, was nominated by President Obama in 2009. The Supreme Court normally has nine justices. However, since the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February they have had to make do with eight.
It was Senate Republicans who refused to consider Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland, saying the choice should be left to the next president. Be careful what you wish for.