The Campaign Spot

When, Precisely, Are a Judge’s ‘Sympathies and Prejudices’ Appropriate?

From Latin/a Rights and Justice in the United States: Perspectives and Approaches, by Jose Luis Morin, p. 104:

As a Latina member of the judiciary, Judge Sotomayor maintains that Latino and Latina judges must retain their identity and be able to use their experience and background, not to curry favor for their own, but to make the system fair for all: “[W]e who judge must not deny the differences resulting from experience or heritage but attempt . . . continuously to judge when those opinions, sympathies, and prejudices are appropriate.”

Perhaps Judge Sotomayor could explain when it is appropriate for a judge to approach a case with sympathies and predjudices?

Don’t federal judges specifically take an oath to avoid sympathies and prejudices?

“I, __________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me as (name of position) under the Constitution and laws of the United States. So help me God.”


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