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Who Is Sonia Sotomayor?
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Who Is Sonia Sotomayor?
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The truly inspiring story of the first Latina Supreme Court Justice.Outspoken, energetic, and fun, Sonia Sotomayor has managed to turn every struggle in life into a triumph. Born in the Bronx to...
The truly inspiring story of the first Latina Supreme Court Justice.Outspoken, energetic, and fun, Sonia Sotomayor has managed to turn every struggle in life into a triumph. Born in the Bronx to...
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  • The truly inspiring story of the first Latina Supreme Court Justice.
    Outspoken, energetic, and fun, Sonia Sotomayor has managed to turn every struggle in life into a triumph. Born in the Bronx to immigrant parents from Puerto Rico, Sonia found out at age nine that she had diabetes, a serious illness now but an even more dangerous one fifty years ago. How did young Sonia handle the devastating news? She learned to give herself her daily insulin shots and became determined to make the most out of her life. It was the popular sixties TV show Perry Mason that made Sonia want to become a lawyer. Not only a lawyer, but a judge! Her remarkable career was capped in 2009 when President Barack Obama nominated her to the Supreme Court, only the third woman and first Hispanic justice in the court's history. Stories of Sotomayor's career are hardly dry legal stuff—she once hopped on a motorcycle to chase down counterfeiters and was the judge whose ruling ended the Major League baseball strike in 1995.

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  • From the book Who Is Sonia Sotomayor?
     
     
    New York City: May 25, 2009
     
     
    It was a warm spring day—the kind of day to be outside. But Sonia Sotomayor was in her office, sitting beside her phone. She was waiting for the most important call of her life. A call from the White House! She would learn whether President Barack Obama wanted her to be a judge on the Supreme Court.
     
    Sonia was already a judge. Her courtroom was in downtown New York City. But being one of the nine judges on the Supreme Court would be very different.
     
    The Supreme Court is the most important court in the country—it decides whether laws in the United States are fair or not. Its decisions are final.
     
    All day the phone in her office rang again and again. Each time Sonia picked it up, it was her family calling. They wanted to know what was happening. If she got the job, she would be only the third woman to sit on the Supreme Court—and the very first Hispanic person. Her family would be invited to go to the White House with her the next day. Some family members were coming from Puerto Rico!
     
    Finally, at seven o’clock that evening, Sonia couldn’t stand waiting any longer. She picked up the phone and called the White House herself. She spoke to an aide to the president. What should she do? If she was picked, she had to get to Washington by the next morning.
     
    The aide told Sonia to go home and pack—and wait for a call.
     
    Then, a little after 8:00 p.m., the call came, the one she so hoped for. It was the president. He told her he would name her to be the next associate justice on the Supreme Court!
     
    Sonia choked up and started to cry. “Thank you, Mr. President,” she said.
     
    Then he asked her to promise two things. He wanted her to stay the same person that she was—and to always stay connected to the world she had come from.
     
    For Sonia Sotomayor—a girl who had grown up poor and proud of her Puerto Rican heritage—that was a promise she was very happy to make.
     
     
    Chapter 1: Born in the Bronx
     
     
    Sonia Maria Sotomayor was born on June 25, 1954. Her parents, Juan and Celina, brought her home. They lived in a poor area of the Bronx, which is part of New York City. Like many of their neighbors, Juan and Celina had come to the United States from Puerto Rico. They had each left Puerto Rico in 1944, hoping for a better life. In the Bronx, they met and married. They moved into the building where Juan’s mother lived. 
     
    The Sotomayors worked hard to make a life in their new country. Celina worked at a hospital while she studied to become a nurse. Juan worked in a factory. Celina learned some English, but the family spoke only Spanish at home.
     
    When Sonia was three years old, her brother, Juan, was born. The family called him Junior. With the family growing, her parents decided to move to a bigger, nicer apartment in the Bronx.
     
    Sonia liked her new home but missed living near her grandmother Mercedes. Years later, Sonia wrote a book about her life. She called it My Beloved World, and it was published in 2013. In the book, she wrote about her grandmother—how full of life she was. She gave parties for the family almost every Saturday night. Everyone danced, played dominoes, and sang. Mercedes read poetry about Puerto Rico and cooked large meals. The apartment would fill with the smell of Puerto Rican food like chicken cooked with onions and garlic. Even as a child, Sonia liked...

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