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Sonia Sotomayor ’76: Associate Justice, Supreme Court of the United States

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor ’76 sat for an official portrait in 2009.
Courtesy of Supreme Court of the United States website

Sonia Sotomayor, a U.S. Supreme Court Justice since 2009, has played a prominent — and oftentimes dissenting — role this year. Many Americans anticipate that the Court will determine the 2020 election, bringing Sotomayor’s defense of voting rights into national focus.

In February, Sotomayor rebuked her conservative colleagues for favoring “one litigant” — the White House — “over all others.” By allowing the “public charge” rule, which hinders immigrants who receive public benefits from obtaining legal status, to enter into effect, Sotomayor argued that the Court was “partly to blame for the breakdown in the appellate process.”


Last month, Sotomayor dissented from the majority’s decision to suspend a lower court order, which had allowed Alabama voters to cast curbside ballots. Sotomayor contended that the “modest” order respected “both the right of voters with disabilities to vote safely and the State’s interest in orderly elections.”

Sotomayor, the first Hispanic American and third woman to serve on the Supreme Court, concentrated in history. As a senior, she was awarded the Pyne Prize, the highest honor the University confers upon undergraduates. In 2018, she joined fellow Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan ’81, also featured on our list, at She Roars.