Subscribe to LexTalk to stay on top of today’s legal issue and trends.
Catapult Your Career |
Industry Insights & Trends |
Product Training & Tips
By Ed Beeson
The solicitor general from Utah had just started his argument when he uttered the words “an objectively reasonable miscalculation.”
Almost on a dime, Justice Sonia Sotomayor stopped him.
“Tell me what was objectively reasonable about it,” she said, referring to an unlawful police stop at the heart of a case, Utah v. Strieff, before the U.S. Supreme Court.
It was Feb. 22, 2016, the first day of arguments after Justice Antonin Scalia unexpectedly died. A mere 45 seconds had passed since Chief Justice John Roberts cued the start of the second oral argument of the day, and Justice Sotomayor, who had deep concerns about the case’s implications for the right against unreasonable search and seizure, quickly dominated the crossfire.
She posed about three dozen questions, statements or interjections at the hearing — more than any of her colleagues. She would go on to keep up this pace through the term, speaking up and filling in the silences left by her late, famously outspoken colleague.
In a recent exclusive interview with Law360, Justice Sotomayor recalled that she didn’t even notice what she was doing until one of her clerks handed her an article noting her more vocal approach.
Law360 subscribers can read the full interview with Justice Sotomayor.
Law360 subscribers can also read Law360's exclusive interview with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Part 1 and Part 2.
Not a subscriber? Access your FREE 7-day trial of Law360.