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Justice Sotomayor describes crying after some Supreme Court decisions

By John Fritze, CNN

(CNN) — Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the most senior liberal on the conservative Supreme Court, told an audience at Harvard University on Friday that she sometimes cries after the court hands down its decisions – and she suggested there may be more tears ahead.

“There are days that I’ve come to my office after an announcement of a case and closed my door and cried,” Sotomayor told the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, where she received an award Friday. “There have been those days. And there are likely to be more.”

Sotomayor made the remarks as the Supreme Court turns toward the final weeks of a term in which the justices will decide a number of high-profile controversies, including former President Donald Trump’s claim of immunity from federal election subversion charges and two major cases dealing with abortion.

The court is set to hand down those decisions and dozens of others by the end of June. Sotomayor did not discuss specific cases in her remarks.

Sotomayor has previously discussed her “frustration” with the court’s direction. Speaking at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law earlier this year, she said she lived with that frustration and that “every loss truly traumatizes me in my stomach and in my heart.”

“But I have to get up the next morning and keep on fighting,” she said.

But her remarks, while generally upbeat, were also more poignant on Friday.

“There are moments when I’m deeply, deeply sad,” she said at Harvard. “And there are moments when, yes, even I feel desperation. We all do. But you have to own it. You have to accept it. You have to shed the tears, and then you have to wipe them and get up and fight some more.”

As often happens this time of year, most of the opinions the court has issued have been unanimous – or have split along non-ideological lines. But that is partly because the court tends to handle less controversial issues first and deal with the most politically or legally fraught opinions at the end of June.

In recent terms, the court has issued several landmark decisions that have broken along ideological – or near ideological – lines, including the overturning of Roe v. Wade in 2022, a decision that same year that expanded gun rights and a ruling last year that gutted affirmative action policies in college admissions.

Earlier this week, Sotomayor joined a sharply worded dissent authored by Justice Elena Kagan in a major redistricting case. The court upheld a pro-Republican congressional map in South Carolina and rejected an argument from civil rights groups and a lower court that lawmakers impermissibly used race as a proxy to bolster the GOP’s chances.

The decision was 6-3 along conservative-liberal lines.

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