Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor expressed a “sense of despair” and sadness Wednesday about recent decisions by the conservative-majority court, including the Dobbs v. Jackson abortion case.
Sotomayor and two other justices dissented in the historic June ruling, which overturned Roe v. Wade and began allowing laws to protect unborn babies from abortion again. Research estimates at least 10,000 unborn babies were saved from abortions just in the first two months.
Speaking at the Association of American Law Schools’ annual meeting in San Diego, Sotomayor said she feels “deeply sad” about the new direction of the court, according to Reuters.
“I did have a sense of despair about the direction my court was going,” the Obama appointee said.
Although she did not mention the Dobbs case specifically, Sotomayor talked about feeling “shell-shocked” and “deeply sad” about recent rulings, adding: “It’s not an option to fall into despair. I have to get up and keep fighting,” Reuters reports.
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Sotomayor would have upheld Roe and continued to force states to legalize killing unborn babies for any reason up to viability, but she was overruled. Some of her arguments against Dobbs were based on false and misleading claims by the pro-abortion movement and have been debunked by researchers and doctors.
The Dobbs decision may have been the most monumental ruling by the Supreme Court in decades. For nearly 50 years under Roe, American abortion laws were among the most extreme and permissive in the world. Just a few other countries, including China and North Korea, allow elective abortions up to birth, as Roe did. As a result, more than 63 million unborn babies were legally aborted in the U.S.
Now, because of Dobbs, state and local lawmakers may pass legislation to protect unborn babies again. Already 14 states are enforcing laws that limit or ban abortions and eight more are fighting in court to do the same. In November, voters also elected more pro-life lawmakers to their state legislatures in several states, paving the way for even more protections.
Despite her pro-abortion leanings, Sotomayor recently did defend her conservative colleague Justice Clarence Thomas from unfounded leftist attacks, saying she knows he “cares about people.” Thomas joined the majority in Dobbs.
He and other conservative justices have faced death threats and assassination attempts on their lives in connection to the ruling.
Abortion activists have attempted to intimidate Thomas and other conservative justices through threats and illegal protests outside their homes. Police arrested a young man who allegedly was planning to kill Justice Brett Kavanaugh near his home this summer.
Republican leaders also have been pressing the Biden administration for answers about the lack of arrests of violent abortion activists and its decision not to enforce a law that prohibits protests outside the homes of judges, jurors, witnesses and other court officials.