Home Finance & Investing Attorney What People Are Getting Wrong About The Call For Sonia Sotomayor To Retire – Above the Law

What People Are Getting Wrong About The Call For Sonia Sotomayor To Retire – Above the Law

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What People Are Getting Wrong About The Call For Sonia Sotomayor To Retire – Above the Law

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US-SUPREME-COURT

(Photo by ERIN SCHAFF/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

The pressure is on for the nearly 70-year-old Sonia Sotomayor to step down from the Supreme Court. Legal academics are leading the call with Paul Campos of the University of Colorado Boulder and Lucas Powe Jr from University of Texas at Austin telling the Huffington Post the time is nigh — while Democrats have the White House and Senate — for Sotomayor’s retirement.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s insistence on dying on the job really burned the left. She passed just weeks before the 2020 election, and the GOP broke records installing Amy Coney Barrett into that seat just days before Donald Trump became a lame duck. That cemented a 6-3 conservative majority, and ushered in the end of Roe. It also notably put the Chief Justice’s more measured approach to the left of the majority of the Court’s jurisprudence.

So there’s a realpolitik feel to the effort to get Sotomayor out the door — one that’s hard to fault. Should the 2024 election break for Republicans and Sotomayor is not able to outlive another change in power, the results would be disastrous for Dems. A 7-2 conservative majority on the Court? The impact of that would be felt for generations, and take decades for progressive jurisprudence to recover.

And yet. There’s something gross and actuarial about how a lot of these conversations go down. Powe told Huff Po, “I would love to see Sotomayor retire. I would love to trade her for a 50-year-old justice.” Yeah, the trading-her-in-for-a-newer-model rhetoric gives strong First Wives Club vibes and is not it. Sotomayor is an actual person — a brilliant jurist with an inspiring story, not a discontinued Chevy Nova that keeps breaking down on the side of the road. Perhaps framing the retirement question in terms of a justice’s legacy and Court tradition — not just as a strategic benefit — will better encourage the healthy turnover of justices.

At least until we get term limits for the Supreme Court.


Kathryn Rubino is a Senior Editor at Above the Law, host of The Jabot podcast, and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. AtL tipsters are the best, so please connect with her. Feel free to email her with any tips, questions, or comments and follow her on Twitter @Kathryn1 or Mastodon @Kathryn1@mastodon.social.



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