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Sotomayor on getting over her ‘reflexive terror’

Becoming a Supreme Court justice is, no doubt, very cool. But it is also petrifying – at least in the beginning, admits Justice Sonia M. Sotomayor.

“The first year that I face the challenges of any new environment has always been a time of fevered insecurity, a reflexive terror that I’ll fall flat on my face,” Sotomayor told PBS’s Gwen Ifill Wednesday, according to a transcript from Federal News Service (a sister company to Lawyers USA).

How did she get over the insecurity? By working hard “with compulsive intensity and single-mindedness until I gradually feel more confident,” she said. And by taking the advice of those who had been there.

“We’re not born anything,” she explained. “We’re not born a lawyer; we’re not born a judge; we’re certainly not born a justice, which is something that Justice John Paul Stevens reminded me during my first year on the bench one day, when I was actually disclosing to him how anxiety-ridden I was about being a justice. And he just touched upon a reality for me. He said, Sonia, none of us is born a justice. We grow into becoming one.”


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