A DISCUSSION OF LAW AND JOURNALISM

Tag: 92nd Street Y

Sotomayor, Rosenbaum, and Three José’s

Sonia Sotomayor

By José I. Ortiz

I’ve met my fair share of celebrities back home in Puerto Rico. It seems that you can’t fling a chancleta without hitting a politician, musician or actor on the island. So, I think I have had enough experiences to be able to say that I do not get star-struck. But, when I attended one of 92nd Street Y’s Talks events featuring a conversation between Thane Rosenbaum and Justice Sonia Sotomayor my anti-star-struck streak was over.

As she walked out onto the stage – after being introduced by Professor Rosenbaum to this packed Upper East Side theater, I saw a Puerto Rican woman calmly making her way to a chair on stage with a warm smile on her face.  She sported a bright yet elegant turquoise top. And she seemed to me like any one of my aunts. For a moment, I felt like I was at a family Christmas gathering and that I could walk up to her, giver her a kiss on the cheek and (as we do with all of our elders) ask her for a blessing, bendición.

This very personal side to Justice Sotomayor seems to be what she hopes to share with anyone who would pick up her new book, “My Beloved World”. Appropriately available in both English and Spanish (Mi Mundo Adorado), her book is near the New York Times Best Sellers List in the non-fiction hardcover category. The New York Times’ review says that it seems Justice Sotomayor has “mastered the art of narrative.” I’m reading the book myself and so far, I wholeheartedly agree.

Justice Sotomayor’s stated mission is to bring hope to those who feel life’s circumstances are stacked against them. (Her speaking tour is undoubtedly working wonders for book sales, as well. But, I won’t go down that cynical road.) The fact is that this Supreme Court justice is different. All of a sudden this salsa-dancing, Spanish-speaking judge is giving a rock-star feel to the black robes and mahogany desks. She summed up her experience dancing salsa with Jorge Ramos (Univision’s Latin version of Anderson Cooper) by saying that he was atrevido.  Not quite Felix Frankfurter’s style.  Or any other justice’s, for that matter.

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