The Associated Press picture with a New York Times article about Justice Sonia Sotomayor is not your usual Supreme Court photo: At a book-reading event, the judge smiles while giving a bear hug to a 7-year-old girl in the audience. People surrounding the pair watch approvingly.
Justice Sotomayor is traveling widely to read and sign copies of her memoir, “My Beloved World,” in a way that the Times says suggests she “wants to play a larger and more personal role in public than her colleagues.”
Her 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,” reporter Jodi Kantor writes. Her book has arrived at Number One New York Times best-seller list for hardcover nonfiction. Other justices have written memoirs, sold them successfully and attracted crowds, but they aren’t quite like Justice Sotomayor.
Talking to the Times at a Chicago event, she emphasized the importance of serving as a role model, and accorded it greater meaning than her jurisprudence.
“It is my great hope that I’ll be a great justice, and that I’ll write opinions that will last the ages,” she said. “But that doesn’t always happen. More importantly, it’s only one measure of meaning in life. To me, the more important one is my values and my impact on people who feel inspired in any way by me.”
Doing service as a role model “is the most valuable thing I can do,” she added. She added at another point, regarding a keen interest in speaking to students, “I would like there to be no child in America who grows up not knowing what the Supreme Court is.”