The People's Justice?
33 Pages Posted: 28 Mar 2014 Last revised: 30 Apr 2014
Date Written: March 24, 2014
Over the past few decades, the liberal Justices on the Supreme Court have made their most notable extrajudicial communications about the Constitution in academic venues discussing academic issues. This has limited their appeal to broader audiences. In this Essay -- written for a symposium at Yale Law School on Justice Sotomayor's first five years on the Court -- David Fontana explores the distinctive path that Justice Sotomayor has pursued. Justice Sotomayor has spoken to academic audiences, as past liberal Justices have. What is most notable about Justice Sotomayor, though, is that she has also appeared in locations and addressed issues that make her and what she discusses of broader appeal; that gives her the potential, as this Essay discusses, to become the “People’s Justice.” Justice Sotomayor thus may make liberal perspectives on the Constitution more known, more liked, and more comprehensible. For those concerned with pursuing a liberal vision of the Constitution, this could be an important development.
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