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Supreme Court Justices Sotomayor and Barrett discuss civility and polarization

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In 2020, Democrats criticized Republicans for confirming Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett shortly before the presidential election. However, Barrett received a congratulatory call from her liberal colleague Sonia Sotomayor, who later welcomed her to the court with Halloween candy. Barrett emphasized the importance of small gestures in fostering collegiality on the court.

The National Governors Association hosted a discussion with Barrett and Sotomayor on respectfully navigating disagreements as part of an initiative to promote healthy conflict resolution. The association recognized the need to address divisive rhetoric and extreme viewpoints among voters and elected officials.

The Supreme Court is facing politically charged cases involving Trump’s actions in the 2020 election and the Capitol attack, restrictions on abortion access, gun control, social media censorship, and bans on gender-affirming care for transgender minors. Despite concerns about division within the court, Barrett and Sotomayor highlighted the majority of cases that are decided unanimously or with broad agreement.

Both justices discussed the importance of their lifetime appointments in maintaining independence from political influence, with Sotomayor humorously noting the limited terms of presidents. They emphasized the court’s cohesion and their personal relationships, which are reflected in their shared commitment to impartiality and the rule of law. The discussion highlighted the importance of mutual respect and understanding in resolving disagreements and promoting unity within the judicial system.

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www.usatoday.com

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