A best-selling book has suddenly helped make Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor the nation's most high-profile Hispanic figure, reports the New York Times. She may be a relative newcomer to national life, plucked from circuit-court obscurity less than four years ago. But the release of her new memoir, “My Beloved World,” suggests that she has broader ambitions than her colleagues, to play a larger and more personal role on the public stage. Prior generations of justices mostly hid behind their robes to preserve their authority, and some current members of the court seem more like legal technicians, dispassionately adjusting the law.
To say that Justice Sotomayor is less cloistered than most of her predecessors and colleagues may be an understatement: among many other appearances to promote her book, she salsa-danced with the Univision anchor Jorge Ramos in her chambers. Other justices draw large crowds (particularly Antonin Scalia, known for his cheerfully pugnacious pronouncements) and have written No. 1 best sellers (as Clarence Thomas did in 2007). But Justice Sotomayor's readings have the air of celebratory happenings, attended by entire families, people who left work early to line up for tickets and acolytes who quote her recent interviews from memory. Excerpts from her book appeared in both People and People en Español magazines, and inauguration events were scheduled around her book tour. On Jan. 20, she administered the oath of office to Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. at the early hour of 8:15 a.m., rather than just before noon as guided by the Constitution, because Justice Sotomayor had to appear that afternoon at a Barnes & Noble in Manhattan.