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Journalist says Sotomayor should consider resigning from Supreme Court

By Stew Davidson
January 31, 2024

Josh Barro, a journalist and podcast host, recently expressed surprise that Justice Sonia Sotomayor has not considered retirement, given the current political balance of the U.S. Supreme Court.

In a recent discussion on CNN's This Morning, Barro expressed his views on Sotomayor's tenure on the Supreme Court. He wondered why Sotomayor, who is 69 years old and has served on the court for 15 years, hasn't retired, especially considering the potential political implications on the court's balance, as FOX News reported.

Exploring the implications of Sotomayor's tenure

Barro's comments came in light of Sotomayor's own statements about her experiences and frustrations on the court.

She shared her feelings during an event at the University of California Berkeley Law School, revealing her struggles with the court's conservative-leaning decisions.

Barro suggested that if Sotomayor is genuinely concerned about the court's political makeup, now would be a strategic time to step down.

This would allow a new appointment by a Democratic president, potentially influencing the court's future direction.

The future of Supreme Court appointments

Barro's remarks reflect a concern over the upcoming elections and the potential for Democrats to lose control of the Senate.

This could significantly impact the appointment of future Supreme Court justices, making Sotomayor's decision to retire or remain increasingly significant.

Comparing Sotomayor's situation to that of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, who passed away before the 2017 election, Barro highlighted the importance of timing in the context of Supreme Court appointments.

CNN hosts react to Barro's comments

CNN host Poppy Harlow responded to Barro's suggestion with surprise, noting that it was a point not widely discussed.

Co-host Phil Mattingly also expressed his unfamiliarity with such discussions, indicating that Barro's point might spark new conversations in media circles.

Barro further compared Sotomayor's situation to that of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who also faced similar discussions regarding retirement.

However, Harlow noted that Ginsburg was older and had health issues, which differed from Sotomayor's current situation.

Health concerns and long-term planning

Barro acknowledged that while Sotomayor is not in immediate health danger, her condition of diabetes and the nature of lifetime appointments necessitate a long-term perspective on such decisions.

He emphasized the structural disadvantages Democrats face in the Senate, suggesting that opportunities for them to appoint Supreme Court justices might be rare in the coming years.

Justice Sotomayor, speaking at the University of California Berkeley Law school, expressed her frustrations living in a conservative-leaning Supreme Court. She shared the personal impact of each loss and the responsibility she feels in her role.

The Political impact of Supreme Court decisions

Barro's comments and the ensuing discussion underline the significant political implications of the composition of the Supreme Court.

The balance of the court can have far-reaching effects on national policies and the legal landscape of the United States.

The dialogue also reflects the increasing politicization of Supreme Court appointments and retirements, illustrating how these decisions are viewed through a partisan lens.

The discussion around Sotomayor's potential retirement fits into a larger narrative about the Supreme Court's dynamics and its evolving role in American politics. It raises questions about the longevity of justices and the strategic considerations behind their retirements.

This conversation also sheds light on the personal and professional pressures faced by Supreme Court justices, who must balance their health, personal beliefs, and the broader political implications of their tenure.


  • Journalist Josh Barro expressed surprise over Justice Sotomayor not considering retirement, given the Supreme Court's current political balance.
  • Barro emphasized the strategic importance of timing for Supreme Court retirements, especially in the context of the upcoming elections and potential Senate control shifts.
  • CNN hosts and Barro discussed the implications of such a decision, comparing it to past justices' situations.
  • Sotomayor's personal commitment to her role and the challenges she faces in a conservative-leaning court were highlighted in her own words.
  • The conversation reflects broader issues regarding the politicization of the Supreme Court and the strategic considerations of justices' retirements.