Being the first Hispanic justice of the U.S. Supreme Court isn’t the only characteristic that sets Sonia Sotomayor apart from her colleagues, the 60-year-old native New Yorker told a capacity crowd at the Palm Beach County Convention Center on Monday.
The most obvious differences are entertainment choices. “My colleagues all love the opera,” she said. “I like jazz and dance.”
But, she said, the key distinctions run far deeper.
“I come from a background they don’t,” she said. “It’s not just dancing salsa but a little bit from the passion of my personality.”
That passionate personality, which she said prompted Justice Antonin Scalia to dub her a “bulldog,” stems from her hard-scrabble life growing up in housing projects in the South Bronx as the daughter of Puerto Rican parents. While she got her undergraduate degree from Princeton University and her law degree from Yale Law School, her Ivy League education came from scholarships, not birthright
She recalled cockroaches scurrying across the floor of her family’s “tenement” and mice nestled in boots kept in the bathroom on winter days. “You change, yes, but you don’t become completely someone else,” she said. “You carry with you that background.”
The luncheon speech, sponsored by the Forum Club of the Palm Beaches and the county bar association, attracted a record-breaking crowd of more than 1,200 people.
Shunning a podium, Sotomayor walked among the dozens of tables in the cavernous ballroom, offering her thoughts about TVs in the courtroom, judicial activism and even Billy Joel.
Tuesday, February 03, 2015
Should the Yankees trade A-Rod?
Justice Sotomayor wouldn't say... but she answered lots of other questions yesterday in Palm Beach: