Law in Popular Culture

Sotomayor Found Inspiration in ‘12 Angry Men’

Perry Mason wasn’t the only fictional legal character that inspired Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

A juror in the film 12 Angry Men was also an inspiration, Sotomayor said Sunday at a film festival sponsored by Fordham University law school. She saw the movie as she was entering college and was inspired by a fictional juror, an immigrant who expresses reverence for the American judicial system. The New York Times covered Sotomayor’s remarks.

At the time, Sotomayor was considering law school and the film “sold me that I was on the right path,” Sotomayor said. “This movie continued to ring the chords within me.”

The event’s organizers had asked Sotomayor for her film recommendation and she chose 12 Angry Men. The film’s director, Sidney Lumet, was supposed to attend the screening and sit next to Sotomayor, but illness kept him away.

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