Op-Ed: Sonia Sotomayor Should Retire Quickly

Josh Barro makes the case for Democrats in the 'Atlantic'
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 18, 2024 9:40 AM CDT
Op-Ed: Sonia Sotomayor Should Retire Quickly
Chief Justice John Roberts, front left, and associate justice Sonia Sotomayor at President Biden's State of the Union earlier this month. At far left is associate justice Ketanji Brown Jackson.   (Shawn Thew/Pool via AP)

Early last year, Politico reported that private rumblings had begun among Democrats who want Sonia Sotomayor to retire from the Supreme Court before the fall election. Now in the Atlantic, Josh Barro argues that the rumblings should grow much louder—and public. Sotomayor will turn 70 in June, and if Donald Trump wins in November, Sotomayor would have to remain in her seat for at least four more years, and perhaps much longer, before a Democrat regains the White House, writes Barro. In his view, the risk is too great on a court that already has a 6-3 conservative majority. He complains that Democrats are too afraid to raise the idea publicly because Sotomayor is the court's first Latina.

"This is incredibly gutless," Barro writes. "You're worried about putting control of the Court completely out of reach for more than a generation, but because she is Latina, you can't hurry along an official who's putting your entire policy project at risk? If this is how the Democratic Party operates, it deserves to lose." In his view, the more salient fact about Sotomayor is that she is "a diabetic who has in some instances traveled with a medic." Both parties have been burned by justices who failed to retire in a timely fashion: the Republicans with Antonin Scalia and Democrats with Ruth Bader Ginsburg. For Democrats to avoid that fate again, "they'll have to get over their fear of being called racist or sexist or ageist." Read the full essay. (More Sonia Sotomayor stories.)

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