The Supreme Court this summer had us playing that Backstreet Boys hit “Quit Playing Games with My Heart” with their rulings this term, at times sticking it to Trump and at other times walking progressive values back. One constant warrior on our side is Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
Here are the top 5 times Justice Sotomayor proved to be Justice Chingona:
- Calling out Trump’s Racist Motivations for Eliminating DACA: When the court ruled that the Trump administration could not dismantle DACA, Justice Sotomayor was the only justice to point out that Trump’s motivations were racist, as noted in this Mother Jones article. “I would not so readily dismiss the allegation that an executive decision disproportionately harms the same racial group that the President branded as less desirable mere months earlier,” Sotomayor wrote in her concurrence.
- Defending the Right to Birth Control: Justice Sotomayor joined Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as the only two justices to dissent in a case that allows employers to deny covering their employees’ birth control. In the dissent written by Justice Ginsburg, the justices say “this Court leaves women workers to fend for themselves, to seek contraceptive coverage from sources other than their employer’s insurer, and, absent another available source of funding, to pay for contraceptive services out of their own pockets.”
- Standing Up for Workers: Justice Sotomayor and Justice Ginsburg were also the only two justices dissenting in a case that effectively allows religious schools to fire workers for nearly any reason. Justice Sotomayor wrote in her dissent “the Court skews the facts, ignores the applicable standard of review, dissenting and collapses Hosanna-Tabor’s careful analysis into a single consideration: whether a church thinks its employees play an important religious role. Because that simplistic approach has no basis in law and strips thousands of schoolteachers of their legal protections, I respectfully dissent.”
- Protecting Asylum Seekers: Justice Sotomayor and Justice Elena Kagan were the only two justices dissenting in the Court’s decision that sided with the Trump administration making it easier to deport asylum seekers. The Court’s decision, Sotomayor wrote, “handcuffs the Judiciary’s ability to perform its constitutional duty to safeguard individual liberty and dismantles a critical component of the separation of powers.”
- Guarding Tax-Dollars from Religious Schools: The Court’s conservative majority ruled that the state of Montana could not deny government aid for students attending religious schools. Justice Sotomayor joined the liberal justices in dissenting and wrote that the ruling “weakens this country’s longstanding commitment to a separation of church and state.”