The Yale Law Journal


The Early Jurisprudence of Justice Sotomayor

17 Mar 2014

Sonia Sotomayor’s first five years on the Court


Justice Sotomayor and the Supreme Court’s Certiorari Process

Robert M. Yablon

The Supreme Court’s certiorari process is generally a black box. Occasionally, however, Justices issue statements explaining their dissent from or concurrence in the denial of certiorari. Since she joined the Court, Justice Sotomayor has produced more of these statements than any of her colleagues. …


Secrecy, Intimacy, and Workable Rules: Justice Sotomayor Stakes Out the Middle Ground in United States v. Jones

Miriam H. Baer

In this Essay, Professor Miriam Baer focuses on Justice Sotomayor’s concurrence in United States v. Jones, which has attracted widespread notice due to Justice Sotomayor’s suggestion that the Court reconsider its reasonable expectation of privacy test and the related third-party doctrine. Professor …


Justice Sotomayor and Criminal Justice in the Real World

Rachel E. Barkow

As part of the symposium to reflect on Justice Sotomayor’s first five years on the Supreme Court, this Essay explores Justice Sotomayor’s contributions to the Court’s criminal law jurisprudence. Professor Rachel Barkow argues that Justice Sotomayor’s prior experience working on criminal law cases as…


Reading Michigan v. Bryant, “Reading” Justice Sotomayor

I. Bennett Capers

What are we to make of Justice Sotomayor’s criminal procedure jurisprudence? In this Essay, Professor I. Bennett Capers attempts to answer that question by offering three readings of her Confrontation Clause decision in Michigan v. Bryant. All three close readings, coupled with details from her memo…


The People’s Justice?

David Fontana

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, Professor David Fontana explores the…


Sotomayor’s Supreme Court Race Jurisprudence: “Fidelity to the Law”

Tanya Katerí Hernández

During the Senate confirmation hearings for Justice Sonia Sotomayor, concerns were persistently raised about her ability to be impartial. In this Essay, Professor Hernández argues that the Supreme Court’s race-related jurisprudence illuminates Justice Sotomayor’s continued commitment to her stated j…


Uniformity and Integrity in Immigration Law: Lessons from the Decisions of Justice (and Judge) Sotomayor

Cristina M. Rodriguez

Though courts and scholars emphasize the importance of uniformity in the interpretation and application of federal immigration law, systemic complexity makes its achievement elusive. In the immigration opinions she has drafted to date on the Supreme Court, as well as in her extensive work reviewing …


Justice Sotomayor and the Jurisprudence of Procedural Justice

Tracey L. Meares & Tom R. Tyler

In this Essay, Professors Tyler and Meares highlight the ways in which recent social science research supports the model of jurisprudence articulated by Justice Sotomayor. Her model defines building identification with political and legal institutions as an important goal for the Court.  It further …


A Conversation with Justice Sotomayor

Justice Sonia Sotomayor & Linda Greenhouse

On February 3, 2014, Justice Sonia Sotomayor delivered the James A. Thomas Lecture at Yale Law School. This transcript is adapted (with slight editing) from that lecture, which took the form of a conversation between Justice Sotomayor and Linda Greenhouse. The lecture touched on topics including Jus…