FLASHBACK: A young Sotomayor discusses life as a prosecutor

Sonia Sotomayor became a prosecutor despite a "tremendous amount of pressure" from her classmates not to do so, the Supreme Court nominee said in an interview early in her career.

In a 1983 NY Times article (payment required) about the difficult career of Assistant District Attorneys, Sotomayor discusses doubts both she and her peers had about the profession she'd embarked on.

"'There was a tremendous amount of pressure from my community, from the third-world community, at Yale,'' the 29-year old recalled. ''They could not understand why I was taking this job. I'm not sure I've ever resolved that problem."

Sotomayor said that working as a D.A. exposed her to an often sad and tragic world of criminal justice.

''What I am finding, both statistically and emotionally,'' she continues, ''is that the worst victims of crimes are not general society--i.e., white folks--but minorities themselves. The violence, the sorrow are perpetrated by minorities on minorities.''

Sotomayor said it was most difficult to prosecute minor crimes like shoplifting and prostitution. Those crimes, she said, "could be the product of the environment and of poverty."

Felonies, on the other hand, presented less moral difficulties.

''Once I started doing felonies, it became less hard," she said. "No matter how liberal I am, I'm still outraged by crimes of violence. Regardless of whether I can sympathize with the causes that lead these individuals to do these crimes, the effects are outrageous.''

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