Conventional wisdom says Sonia Sotomayor—who grew up poor in the Bronx—would be a reliable liberal vote on the Supreme Court. Those who know her well tell the Washington Post that she has too much respect for the law to be blinded by ideology, a trait that first surfaced in an "even-handed" student note she wrote about Puerto Rico's possible statehood. "She's really tough to pigeonhole," said a colleague. "This is something I saw evolving over time. She does not have an ideological litmus test for her clerks. They run the gamut."
Still, she's certainly no Antonin Scalia. "She is liberal, as am I," said a lawyer who worked with her in New York City. "Liberal without being a flaming type of do-gooder or anything of the sort. To call her a centrist would not be accurate. To call her wild-eyed would also not be accurate. She is far too rational, far too interested in the underlying facts."