Supreme Newbie Faces Steep Learning Curve
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 7, 2009 6:57 AM CDT
Sonia Sotomayor is escorted by security as she leaves Manhattan Federal Cour yesterday.   (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
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(Newser) – Justices past and present say no amount of experience can prepare someone for the role Sonia Sotomayor is walking into, the New York Times reports. "I was frightened to death for the first three years," Justice Bremer, who joined the court in 1994, once admitted.  As the court's newest justice, Sotomayor will need to swiftly learn to deal with the dynamics of the court's other eight members as she prepares for an onslaught of complex First Amendment, business, and criminal cases in the new term.

Sotomayor—who, as the junior justice, will be required to answer the door during the court's private sessions—is not expected to rule very differently than Justice Souter, though experts say newcomers to the court generally tread lightly in their first few years. Early decisions, they say, are often a poor indicator of what mark the justice will make on the court in the long term.