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Justice Sonia Sotomayor believes the recent leak of classified documents associated with the Army’s operations in Afghanistan and posted on the controversial WikiLeaks website will lead to a U.S. Supreme Court case that weighs freedom of speech against national security interests.
The Associated Press reports on Sotomayor’s remarks, which were made Thursday to a large audience of high school and college students at the University of Denver.
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But Sotomayor, answering a student question, stopped short of offering an opinion, explaining, “That question is very likely to come before me.”
She referenced the Pentagon Papers of a previous generation, in which a secret military study of the Vietnam War was published by The New York Times after the Supreme Court declined to intervene: “That was not the beginning of that question, but an issue that keeps arising from generation to generation, of how far we will permit government restriction on freedom of speech in favor of protection of the country.”
Hundreds attended the event, including Jessica Keys, a 17-year-old senior at Manual High School, who asked if Sotomayor’s ethnicity and upbringing in the Bronx made her feel out of place at Princeton as an undergraduate (via Law Week Colorado).
“Every morning I get up and I wonder, am I really here? Do I really belong? It takes a long time for that feeling to go away,” Sotomayor said. “Even if I’m a little bit different, it’s OK, and I guess that’s where I am now.”
Sotomayor also recalled when President Bill Clinton nominated her to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. She wasn’t sure she wanted the job until she heard there was resistance to her confirmation.
“If they hadn’t fought so hard, I would have given up earlier,” she said (via The Denver Post). “I didn’t want to let them beat me.”