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William C. Altreuter
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Friday, October 31, 2014

Sonia Sotomayor may be the greatest Supreme Court Justice of all time. She was already a contender merely for appearing on Sesame Street (and now I am imagining Clarance Thomas having a conversation with Oscar the Grouch), but she is also, apparently, an awesome person who would be fun to be friends with.
If Sotomayor seems comfortable putting her colleagues through the paces, that may be because she has a penchant for pushing herself. This past weekend, at a reunion event for Yale Law School, she revealed that, when it comes to dancing, she’s hardly a natural. “I can’t keep a beat to save my life,” she admitted. That fact kept her away from dance floors for most of her life until she finally decided, “This is something I want to change.”
And so Sotomayor signed up for salsa lessons. She was 50 at the time and a newly minted member of the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals.
Diversity is a concept that is sometimes mocked by the sorts of people who, for one reason or another have never experienced it, and empathy as a judicial quality was expressly derided when Justice Sotomayor was undergoing the confirmation process. On some level the Princeton and Yale educated Sotomayor may not seem so diverse: her educational pedigree  means that she can join clubs that I can't, and I'm a white middle-aged male. Confronted with the two of us, Oliver Wendell Holmes would have handed Justice Sotomayor his coat, and asked me to join him at the bar, and that all by itself is why it is so great to have a Supreme Court Justice that took salsa lessons at 50.


| Comments:
Your assessment of Sotomayor is so right! The line about how Holmes would have handed her his coat and talked to you says so much. It also says that you get it that she is now where she is because men like you (and I take pride in your upbringing for some samll part of this), can make that statement.
 

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