These Sonia Sotomayor quotes and life lessons will motivate you to create a legacy for yourself.
Sonia Sotomayor is the first Hispanic member of the Supreme Court of the United States.
She was nominated to serve as an Associate Justice by Barack Obama in 2009.
This collection of Sonia Sotomayor quotes will make you appreciate her life and legacy.
Sonia Sotomayor is beloved for achieving greatness in her career, breaking down barriers for women everywhere, and inspiring a generation of young girls to have big dreams.
Her quotes will make you feel empowered and inspired.
As the first Latina member of the United States Supreme Court, Sonia Sotomayor is legendary for breaking down barriers and supporting equality.
Read any list of Sonia Sotomayor’s accomplishments if you want to be astounded.
For motivation and inspiration, read these Sonia Sotomayor life lessons and pieces of advice.
Her words of wisdom will encourage you to follow your heart and achieve your goals.
Sonia Sotomayor quotes about equality and justice
1. “I have never, ever focused on the negative of things. I always look at the positive.” – Sonia Sotomayor
Everyday Application: There is scientific benefits to looking at the positive things in life. This doesn’t mean that you pretend the negative things didn’t happen or don’t exist. It just means you choose to approach life with an attitude of positivity and gratefulness.
2. “I do know one thing about me: I don’t measure myself by others’ expectations or let others define my worth.” – Sonia Sotomayor
Everyday Application: Other people’s opinions or expectations are not your problem to solve. That is on them; only you define your worth. If you self-worth has taken a bit of a beating lately, check out this article full of quotes meant to help you build your confidence and remember just how special you are!
3. “It is important for all of us to appreciate where we come from and how that history has really shaped us in ways that we might not understand.” – Sonia Sotomayor
Everyday Application: Our past and history help shape who we are. It is important to understand why we react the way we do and how our experiences impact our behaviors. Acknowledging, and appreciating the things you have overcome if one of the biggest changes you can make in your life.
4. “I think it’s important to move people beyond just dreaming into doing. They have to be able to see that you are just like them, and you made it.” – Sonia Sotomayor
Everyday Application: Dreaming is an important part of life. It is what gives us hope and helps shape our goals. However, a dream is not enough. At some point, you will have to take action and physically do something to make them come true.
5. “There are uses to adversity, and they don’t reveal themselves until tested. Whether it’s serious illness, financial hardship, or the simple constraint of parents who speak limited English, difficulty can tap unexpected strengths.” – Sonia Sotomayor
Everyday Application: Adversity, in any form, helps shape who we are by testing us. It builds our resiliency, or leads us to throw in the towel. When we use our hardships and struggles to tap into our strengths we are becoming our best selves. Diamonds start out as pure carbon until they are heated and put under pressure!
6. “Until we get equality in education, we won’t have an equal society.” – Sonia Sotomayor
Everyday Application: Education is a ‘great equalizer’ according to Horace Mann. However, while education will lift you up and open you to more opportunities, that doesn’t happen by equal amounts. We have some people completing high school from very poor schools who share books, while others complete high school having gone on trips and having a personal MacBook to bring home and work on. This disparity needs to be addressed.
7. “The Latina in me is an ember that blazes forever.” – Sonia Sotomayor
Everyday Application: Each of us has a unique heritage that shapes who we are. The culture and influence of our ancestors is something most of us hold dear. Be proud of who you are and where you came from!
8. “I am an ordinary person who has been blessed with extraordinary opportunities and experiences.” – Sonia Sotomayor
Everyday Application: Ordinary people can accomplish great things. Even those of us who were not blessed with extraordinary opportunities and experiences. If you have been, than be grateful, but if you haven’t been, then just know you can create your own! Practice gratitude for whatever you do have!
9. “My diabetes is such a central part of my life… it did teach me discipline… it also taught me about moderation… I’ve trained myself to be super-vigilant… because I feel better when I am in control.” – Sonia Sotomayor
Everyday Application: We are all going to have challenges that will teach us discipline and moderation…among other things! Another great lesson from this quote is to remember to treat your body right and take care of yourself.
10. “We apply law to facts. We don’t apply feelings to facts.” – Sonia Sotomayor
Everyday Applications: This is a great reminder that law and facts can differ from your personal beliefs or feelings. Feelings on a subject can be changed where as facts require new evidence and studies to change.
Sonia Sotomayor quotes to inspire you to achieve greatness
11. “I have never had to face anything that could overwhelm the native optimism and stubborn perseverance I was blessed with.” – Sonia Sotomayor
Everyday Application: Some people do seem to be blessed with more optimism and perseverance than others. In a recent study, researchers discovered that optimism was 50% genetic, 40% self-determined, and 10% related to our environment. This is good news! That means that we can become more optimistic, which is a precursor to happiness and success.
12. “We educated, privileged lawyers, have a professional and moral duty to represent the underrepresented in our society, to ensure that justice exists for all, both legal and economic justice.” – Sonia Sotomayor
Everyday Application: Lawyers in the US take an oath. That oath is slightly different in each state, but their is one part that remains consistent. All lawyers swear to support the US constitution. They promise to uphold and defend it, regardless of their personal beliefs. They are foot soldiers of democracy and justice.
If you’re enjoying these quotes, make sure to read our collection of insightful lawyer quotes about justice for all.
13. “You know, failure hurts. Any kind of failure stings. If you live in the sting, you will – undoubtedly – fail. My way of getting past the sting is to say no, I’m just not going to let this get me down.” – Sonia Sotomayor
Everyday Application: How you respond to failure, or really anything in this life that stings, is a choice. You can choose to remain in the past, beat yourself up, feel things like disappointment and guilt, or give up. However, you can also make a conscious decision to keep going, learn a lesson, revaluate your path, and believe in yourself. You must also choose to continue to put forth the work and effort to succeed.
14. “I firmly believe in the rule of law as the foundation for all of our basic rights.” – Sonia Sotomayor
Everyday Application: What is the rule of law? The rule of law is a philosophy comprised of three key beliefs. These beliefs are that law must be: known to the public, enforced consistently, and apply to everyone equally. The term is credited to the works of Aristotle.
15. “If your child marches to a different beat, a different drummer, you might just have to go along with that music. Help them achieve what’s important to them.” – Sonia Sotomayor
Everyday Application: Parents seem to have a lot of #1 jobs…First, you have to keep your children safe. Then there is the matter of teaching them how to be good people, thinking people, and compassionate people. However, it is also our job to help our children discover their potential and achieve what is important to the. Everyone should have the opportunity to be who they are.
16. “I do believe that every person has an equal opportunity to be a good and wise judge regardless of their background or life experiences.” – Sonia Sotomayor
17. “Sometimes, idealistic people are put off the whole business of networking as something tainted by flattery and the pursuit of selfish advantage. But virtue in obscurity is rewarded only in Heaven. To succeed in this world you have to be known to people.” – Sonia Sotomayor
18. “My job as a prosecutor is to do justice. And justice is served when a guilty man is convicted and an innocent man is not.” – Sonia Sotomayor
19. “Whether born from experience or inherent physiological or cultural differences, our gender and national origins may and will make a difference in our judging.” – Sonia Sotomayor
20. “I am a New Yorker, and 7:00 A.M. is a civilized hour to finish the day, not to start it.” – Sonia Sotomayor
Sonia Sotomayor quotes on life lessons
21. “I’m young at heart. I’m young in spirit, and I’m still adventurous.” – Sonia Sotomayor
22. “An alcoholic father, poverty, my own juvenile diabetes, the limited English my parents spoke – although my mother has become completely bilingual since. All these things intrude on what most people think of as happiness.” – Sonia Sotomayor
23. “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.” – Sonia Sotomayor
24. “The task of a judge is not to make the law – it is to apply the law.” – Sonia Sotomayor
25. “I strive never to forget the real-world consequences of my decisions on individuals, businesses, and government.” – Sonia Sotomayor
Everyday Application: Even though most of us our not judges, this is a good lesson to keep in mind. Your decisions might not impact these things on such a big scale, but every decision we make comes with a set of real world consequences—for ourselves and others.
26. “So many people grew up with challenges, as I did. There weren’t always happy things happening to me or around me. But when you look at the core of goodness within yourself – at the optimism and hope – you realize it comes from the environment you grew up in.” – Sonia Sotomayor
27. “I think that the day a justice forgets that each decision comes at a cost to someone, then I think you start losing your humanity.” – Sonia Sotomayor
28. “Although I grew up in very modest and challenging circumstances, I consider my life to be immeasurably rich.” – Sonia Sotomayor
29. “When everyone at school is speaking one language, and a lot of your classmates’ parents also speak it, and you go home and see that your community is different -there is a sense of shame attached to that. It really takes growing up to treasure the specialness of being different.” – Sonia Sotomayor
30. “To have a romance, you have to have time. I’m a justice. I’ve written a book. The guy’s gonna have to wait until I’m a little bit freer.” – Sonia Sotomayor
Sonia Sotomayor quotes to motivate you to create a legacy for yourself
31. “I am a product of affirmative action. I am the perfect affirmative action baby. I am Puerto Rican, born and raised in the south Bronx. My test scores were not comparable to my colleagues at Princeton and Yale. Not so far off so that I wasn’t able to succeed at those institutions.” – Sonia Sotomayor
32. “My judicial philosophy is fidelity to the law.” – Sonia Sotomayor
33. “I listened very, very carefully to the world around me to pick up the signals of when trouble was coming. Not that I could stop it. But it made me observant. That was helpful when I became a lawyer because I knew how to read people’s signals.” – Sonia Sotomayor
34. “When you come from a background like mine, where you’re entering worlds that are so different than your own, you have to be afraid.” – Sonia Sotomayor
35. “I savor life. When you have anything that threatens life… it prods you into stepping back and really appreciating the value of life and taking from it what you can.” – Sonia Sotomayor
36. “Much of the uncertainty of law is not an unfortunate accident: it is of immense social value.” – Sonia Sotomayor
37. “I realized that people had an unreal image of me, that somehow I was a god on Mount Olympus. I decided that if I were going to make use of my role as a Supreme Court Justice, it would be to inspire people to realize that, first, I was just like them and second, if I could do it, so could they.” – Sonia Sotomayor
38. “A career is something that you train for and prepare for and plan on doing for a long time.” – Sonia Sotomayor
39. “Personal experiences affect the facts that judges choose to see.” – Sonia Sotomayor
40. “In examining witnesses, I learned to ask general questions so as to elicit details with powerful sensory associations: the colors, the sounds, the smells that lodge an image in the mind and put the listener in the burning house.” – Sonia Sotomayor
Powerful Sonia Sotomayor quotes
41. “I honestly felt no envy or resentment, only astonishment at how much of a world there was out there and how much of it others already knew. The agenda for self-cultivation that had been set for my classmates by their teachers and parents was something I’d have to develop for myself.” – Sonia Sotomayor
42. “Each time I see a split infinitive, an inconsistent tense structure, or the unnecessary use of the passive voice, I blister.” – Sonia Sotomayor
43. “I don’t believe we should bend the Constitution under any circumstance. It says what it says. We should do honor to it.” – Sonia Sotomayor
44. “It is very important when you judge to recognize that you have to stay impartial. That’s what the nature of my job is. I have to unhook myself from my emotional responses and try to stay within my unemotional, objective persona.” – Sonia Sotomayor
45. “If I write a book where all I’ve ever experienced is success, people won’t take a positive lesson from it. In being candid, I have to own up to my own failures, both in my marriage and in my work environment.” – Sonia Sotomayor
46. “This wealth of experiences, personal and professional, have helped me appreciate the variety of perspectives that present themselves in every case that I hear.” – Sonia Sotomayor
47. “I don’t prejudge issues. I come to every case with an open mind. Every case is new to me.” – Sonia Sotomayor
48. “All judges have cases that touch our passions deeply, but we all struggle constantly with remaining impartial.” – Sonia Sotomayor
49. “We have to look and ensure that we’re paying attention to what we’re doing so that we don’t reflexively institute processes and procedures that exclude people without thought.” – Sonia Sotomayor
50. “It’s not the heart that compels conclusions in cases, it’s the law.” – Sonia Sotomayor
More Sonia Sotomayor quotes and sayings
51. “Good people can do bad things, make bad choices. It doesn’t make them bad people.” – Sonia Sotomayor
Everyday Application: We have all made a bad choice or done the wrong thing occasionally. If we didn’t then we would be perfect people and their is no such thing! You are more than your worst decisions. What does make someone a bad person, then? I think it has more to do with a pattern of behavior in which you hurt or infringe upon other people and act with malice. Not simply making a mistake in life.
52. “Experience has taught me that you cannot value dreams according to the odds of their coming true. Their real value is in stirring within us the will to aspire.” – Sonia Sotomayor
53. “I have come to believe that in order to thrive, a child must have at least one adult in her life who shows her unconditional love, respect, and confidence.” – Sonia Sotomayor
54. “You can’t dream unless you know what the possibilities are.” – Sonia Sotomayor
Everyday Application: The possibilities are truly endless! The only limits that exist are those that we impose upon ourselves. What could you accomplish if you changed the way you thought about things, or simply believed you could? How are you limiting your own dreams and growth, by limiting what you believe is possible?
55. “Some people choose not to engage the battle and then don’t seek out that kind of success. And others do.” – Sonia Sotomayor
56. “Sometimes, even if there was no useful advice to give, I saw that listening still helped.” – Sonia Sotomayor
57. “I have ventured to write more intimately about my personal life than is customary for a member of the Supreme Court, and with that candor comes a measure of vulnerability.” – Sonia Sotomayor
58. “I do think there is a value in the services of judges for long periods of time.” – Sonia Sotomayor
59. “It is our responsibility to explain to the public how an often unpredictable system of justice is one that serves a productive, civilized, but always evolving, society.” – Sonia Sotomayor
60. “There are cultural biases built into testing, and that was one of the motivations for the concept of affirmative action – to try to balance out those effects.” – Sonia Sotomayor
What are your favorite Sonia Sotomayor quotes and life lessons?
This list of Sonia Sotomayor quotes is full of wonderful advice and encouraging words of wisdom.
Straight from the mind of the accomplished Associate Justice, these quotes will make you feel more enlightened.
If you take your education seriously and focus on equality and justice, you can make the world a better place for everyone.
With this mindset, it is possible for you to reach all your goals and spread positivity.
Sonia Sotomayor has made her mark on history as the first Hispanic member of the United States Supreme Court.
What legacy will you leave behind?
Hopefully, these Sonia Sotomayor quotes will inspire you to achieve greatness.
Hard work, education, and fairness will guide you to success.
Share these Sonia Sotomayor life lessons and quotes to motivate the people in your life.
What are your favorite Sonia Sotomayor quotes and sayings about equality, justice, and education?
Let us know in the comment section below.
June 9, 2022 6:12 AM EST