(RepublicanInformer.com)- Last week, liberal Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor held a talk on diversity and inclusion at the New York University School of Law in which she cited “sexism” as the reason the Court kept in place a pandemic-era rule change in oral arguments.
During the pandemic when Justices were hearing oral arguments telephonically rather than in person, the Supreme Court established a rule requiring justices to speak one at a time based on seniority during oral arguments. This oral argument rule was preserved even after the pandemic restrictions ended.
In her NYU talk, Sotomayor mentioned that a number of studies found females were interrupted more frequently than males during oral arguments. Likewise, females are less likely to interrupt others than their male counterparts.
Sotomayor said that Chief Justice John Roberts was “much more sensitive” about interruptions and did his best to make sure they didn’t happen or at least play referee when needed.
Before the one-at-a-time rule was put in place, Sotomayor said her solution to being interrupted was to “interrupt back.”
Whether the rule was changed specifically to protect the women from being interrupted or just to prevent interruptions in general, the reality is, women justices aren’t the only ones happy about the change.
According to reports, Justice Clarence Thomas is pleased with the rule change as well. While he has a history of rarely asking questions from the bench, since the change, Thomas, the most senior member of the Court, has become a much more active participant during oral arguments.
In her talk, Sotomayor also whined about the originalists on the Court, claiming that sticking to the Constitution might “lead to dissonance between what we are deciding” and what the general public thinks the law should be.
The Court’s only job is to determine whether or not something is constitutional. It isn’t supposed to making rulings based on public opinion.
Sotomayor also complained that “authorities” who are selecting judges don’t pay enough attention to diversity, adding that she makes sure her law clerks have diverse backgrounds. Citing her heritage, Sotomayor also claimed that people of color “have to work harder than everybody else to succeed.”