Sotomayor: The 9 of us are now a family

Justice Sonia Sotomayor tells CNN's David Axelrod about the current state of the court and welcoming Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

Posted: Nov 19, 2018 9:43 AM
Updated: Nov 19, 2018 10:17 AM

Justice Sonia Sotomayor in an interview with CNN's David Axelrod said that Justice Brett Kavanaugh was welcomed into the Supreme Court "family" in the wake of his polarizing confirmation process.

"When you're charged with working together for most of the remainder of your life, you have to create a relationship," Sotomayor said in an "Axe Files" interview airing Saturday.

"The nine of us are now a family and we're a family with each of us our own burdens and our own obligations to others, but this is our work family, and it's just as important as our personal family.

"We've probably spent more time with each other than most justices spend, who have spouses, with their spouses," she added.

Kavanaugh, who has served since being confirmed early last month, had his confirmation thrown into doubt after a tense Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in September in which California professor Christine Blasey Ford alleged the Supreme Court nominee had sexually assaulted her when they were in high school in the 1980s. Kavanaugh denied the allegations against him.

Sotomayor said despite the contentious confirmation, she told Kavanaugh that the focus on him will settle on his actions as part of the court.

"It was Justice (Clarence) Thomas who tells me that when he first came to the Court, another justice approached him and said, 'I judge you by what you do here. Welcome.' And I repeated that story to Justice Kavanaugh when I first greeted him here," she said.

Thomas was accused of sexual harassment after being nominated in 1991 and also narrowly confirmed by the Senate.

Sotomayor, who was first confirmed to the court in 2009, also pushed back on the notion that Kavanaugh's presence cements a conservative tilt on the Court -- an institution she said is above "political terms."

"Conservative, liberal, those are political terms," she said. "Do I suspect that I might be dissenting a bit more? Possibly, but I still have two relatively new colleagues, one very new colleague, Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch. And we've agreed in quite a few cases, we've disagreed in a bunch, But you know, let's see."

When asked modern political discourse, Sotomayor said too large of an emphasis has been put on differences rather than common "human values."

"We all have families we love, we all care about others, we care about our country, and we care when people are injured," she told Axelrod. "And unfortunately, the current conversation often forgets that. It forgets our commonalities and focuses on superficial differences whether those are language or how people look or the same God they pray to but in different ways.

"Those differences truly are not important," she added. "What is important is those human values we share and those human feelings that we share. But I worry that we forget about that too often."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 449492

Reported Deaths: 6047
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin933031483
Ramsey40134741
Dakota33159344
Anoka31061365
Washington20220230
Stearns17922188
St. Louis13730242
Scott1199496
Wright11656104
Olmsted1054775
Sherburne822065
Carver696436
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Rice610769
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Blue Earth543233
Crow Wing484877
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Winona390046
Douglas375766
Nobles371746
Mower367829
Goodhue349259
Polk328958
McLeod325745
Morrison312145
Beltrami311048
Lyon302538
Becker286239
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Isanti282941
Carlton280943
Steele27489
Pine267013
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Todd232230
Nicollet225436
Brown215534
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Martin170826
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Renville137540
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Fillmore12435
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Rock110312
Sibley10857
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Cook1150

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 307088

Reported Deaths: 4340
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk46016457
Linn17864278
Scott15566166
Black Hawk13875238
Woodbury13040177
Johnson1216051
Dubuque11434153
Pottawattamie9047113
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Story871235
Webster470172
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Sioux456157
Clinton451863
Warren449038
Marshall428662
Buena Vista393829
Muscatine392278
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Wapello346598
Jasper324059
Lee318131
Marion305752
Jones272649
Henry264831
Carroll255934
Bremer246848
Crawford232324
Washington220332
Boone219517
Benton210150
Mahaska195037
Jackson193031
Tama188758
Dickinson186227
Kossuth174844
Delaware174536
Clay169820
Wright165224
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Hamilton160730
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Winneshiek156919
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Cedar154219
Clayton151548
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Mills136916
Lyon135732
Poweshiek133924
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Iowa126022
Calhoun12299
Grundy121626
Jefferson121325
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Mitchell116235
Louisa115430
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Chickasaw112212
Sac111115
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Union109222
Humboldt105819
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Shelby103427
Franklin102718
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Clarke7987
Pocahontas77711
Ida74730
Davis69421
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Lucas6589
Monona64616
Osceola6419
Worth6133
Taylor5949
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