Embodying justice: The making of Justice Sonia Sotomayor

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6 Scopus citations


Josh Chambers-Letson offers a study of the confirmation process of Sonia Sotomayor as she became the first Latina Justice on the United States Supreme Court. Interrogating the relationship between embodiment and justice, this article argues that US law has long produced particular types of bodies (traditionally white, male, and landed) as the ideal subjects of the nation. Thus, with the recent and ongoing integration of the institutions of national power, such as the US Supreme Court, the article questions how the rise of women and people of color into such institutions may affect power. Analyzing the confirmation process of Justice Sotomayor (and, in particular, the national furor over the phrase wise Latina woman), the article suggests that Sotomayor's ascension to the Court promised less an interruption into the normative forms of subjectivity produced by US law than might have been hoped for by many of her supporters on the left. Doing so, the article advocates for sustained critical attention to the institutions of power that are productive of social subordination and oppression, regardless of the types of bodies who inhabit them.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-172
Number of pages24
JournalWomen and Performance
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 2010


  • Sonia Sotomayor
  • US Supreme Court
  • critical race theory
  • legal theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


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