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Sep. 25 2009 - 3:39 pm | 15 views | 0 recommendations | 3 comments

Sonia Sotomayor, Human Being

Sonia Sotomayor accepts the nomination by Pres...

Image by Jay Tamboli via Flickr

It was hard to get a feel for Justice Sonia Sotomayor during her hearings.

She was obviously brilliant, well-reasoned and incredibly articulate — but beyond the occasional references to her Bronx upbringing and love of baseball, her personality seemed mostly under wraps. That was different from Chief Justice John Robert’s hearings, where he charmed the Senate Judiciary Committee, and more recently, Solicitor General Elena Kagan’s confirmation where she even got Sen. Arlen Specter to chuckle. But Sotomayor seemed sterile in the week of hearings, probably in large part due to the fact that her identity with her race and culture (the infamous “wise Latina” remarks) would come part and parcel with any openness.

But finally, we’re getting a glimpse into Sotomayor, Human Being, and what we’re seeing is very likeable. Sotomayor spoke with C-Span as part of an ongoing Supreme Court series starting October 4. In the excerpted interview released today, she discusses the moments leading up to the call from Obama, and they’re about as “human” as you can get:

Sotomayor was packing in her lower Manhattan home when the White House operator called at 8:10 p.m. “I actually stood by my balcony doors, and I had the — my cellphone in my right hand and I had my left hand over my chest trying to calm my beating heart, literally,” Sotomayor said. “And the president got on the phone and said to me, ‘Judge, I would like to announce you as my selection to be the next Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court.’

“And I said to him — I caught my breath and started to cry and said, ‘Thank you, Mr. President.’ That was what the moment was like.”

The words paint a compelling picture of Sotomayor, and it’ll be interesting to hear what else the interviews reveal about the Court’s newest justice.


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  1. collapse expand

    It’s nice to see Justice Sotomayor humanized a bit. She always seemed very down-to-earth, very likeable to me.

  2. collapse expand

    Good God, if she is a human, so is Ronald Reagan. A pathetic choice. Her rulings read like a list of the most white bread, status-quo, uphold the current power structure decisions imaginable. And Jessica, Christ, I hate to have to point this out, but you are black. Do a little investigating of the way she treats black folks in her courtroom before chiming in. And Kate, WTF? I thought you were smart. You dont hafta love her just because shes female. Did you support Bush’s cleaning lady too? Sheeeeeeeesh.

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    About Me

    While working at Talking Points Memo Muckraker during the 2008 Election, I covered the Justice Department politicization, voting rights law and the insanity of Alaska politics. I loved the beat which was somewhere between the wonky side of politics and the law. The realization was enough to send me off to law school in D.C. -- which seems to be a perfect combination of both.

    Though I've covered everything from birth control to blenders in my few years in journalism, this blog will be a compilation of stories related to the Supreme Court, federal courts, and the law generally. With an occasional story about Sarah Palin or Ted Stevens thrown in for good measure.

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