Justice Sotomayor Opens Up About Friendly Relationship With Justice Thomas
Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, left, and Associate Justice Clarence Thomas during the formal group photograph at the Supreme Court in Washington, DC, US, on Friday, Oct. 7, 2022.
Photographer: Eric Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor opened up about her friendship with Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas during a Thursday appearance at Roosevelt University in Chicago.

During Sotomayor’s appearance, the liberal justice was asked about how she maintains relationships with justices who have different legal philosophies than her, specifically the conservative Thomas.

“I try to find the good in everybody,” Sotomayor shared, according to CNN’s Eric Bradner. “Because if I can treat them as people with good things inside of me, they can feel it. They can feel that there are things inside them that I value. And they’re more wiling to talk to me … and do it in a respectful way, where we can value each other.”

“I have disagreed more with him [Thomas] than with any other justice,” she added. “Which means we don’t come together on many cases. And yet I can tell you that I spend time with him, understanding that he is one of the few justices who knows practically everybody in our building. He knows their name, he knows the things about their life, what their family is suffering. He’ll tell me, you know that person’s wife is sick right now, or that person’s child is having difficulty.”

“There’s no other justice who does that,” Sotomayor continued. “I try, but he does it better. He cares about people. Now, he cares on legal interests differently. And he sees those legal issues much differently than I do.  I tell people, you know Clarence believes, just like him, because he grew up very, very poor, that everyone is capable of picking themselves up by their bootstraps. I understand that some people can’t reach their bootstraps. That’s a fundamental difference in how we view what the law can or should or does do for people. But I can appreciate him.”

Sotomayor was appointed by former President Barack Obama in May 2009 and has served since August 2009. Thomas was appointed by the late-former President George H. W. Bush in 1991 to replace Justice Thurgood Marshall and has served ever since.

RELATED: Justice Clarence Thomas Gets Surprise Defense — From Justice Sotomayor

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