Supreme Court Justices emphasize the importance of nonpartisan judges

More than 3,000 alumni flocked to Princeton University’s campus Friday for a women’s conference. The three-day event focuses on connecting, empowering and celebrating women of Princeton University. This is the second She Roars Conference with more than 90 events and over 200 presenters.

But just hours after the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was seemingly assured, all eyes were on the discussion between sitting high court Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

While the moderator and two alumni never mentioned Kavanaugh by name, the prospect of his tenure was reflected in their views about the future of the Supreme Court.

“We have to rise above partisanship in our personal relationships,” said Sotomayor, “with a sense of amicability that the rest of the world doesn’t offer share.”

“The only way we get people to do what we say they should to do, is because people respect us and respect our fairness. I think especially in this time when the rest of the political environment is so divided, every single one of us has an obligation to think about what it is that provides the court with its legitimacy,” Kagan said.

Both women said despite not always agreeing with everyone’s vote, it’s crucial to always see the “good in everyone” and remain above the fray in order to move forward and make room for compromise.

“Every case it’s always going to be just the same nine of us, and if you hold grudges, or if you have a bad relationship with one of your colleagues, then in the next case, and the next case, and the next case, you have not much of a chance of persuading that colleague to come along with what you think is the right thing to do,” Kagan said.

“I think if you can approach people way in that way, and understand difference of opinion doesn’t necessarily brand you an evil person, there’s more space to talk, there’s more space to engage, and certainty more space for willingness to compromise,” Sotomayor said.

While it remains unclear how both women feel about their new colleague, what they did make clear is that there is no room on the bench for partisan politics.

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