Sotomayor Discusses Background, Career in TU Forum

Sep 10, 2014

Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Sonia Sotomayor participated in a question-and-answer forum at the University of Tulsa Wednesday during a three-day Oklahoma trip. TU law professor Robert Spoo moderated.
Credit Frank Christel / KWGS

Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor visited the University of Tulsa Wednesday on a three-day Oklahoma trip.

Sotomayor talked about her career, influences and philosophies in an hour-long question-and-answer session hosted by the TU College of Law. Asked how law schools could modernize, Sotomayor said universities in regional groups should consider dividing up specialties because trying to be number one in every area of law is prohibitively expensive.

"Have consortiums, like some of the sister schools have, and let students who have a particular interest, let's say in immigration law, go to the one school who has the best faculty in that area," Sotomayor said.

After visiting TU today, Sotomayor is due to meet with local tribal leaders tomorrow. Sotomayor said visiting Indian tribes and studying for cases she would preside over developed her interest in Native American law, an area on which she’s written majority opinions and a few dissenting ones.

"If you read my dissents, you're likely to see that I think the court sometimes goes away from the record a little too much," Sotomayor said. "I mean the precedential record — a little too much."

After she became an associate justice, an old friend told Sotomayor tribes don’t feel like they’re part of the court, even though it affects them.