Justice Sotomayor tells Oprah her feelings about lawyers
3:16 pm, January 22nd, 2013
U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor confesses to Oprah Winfrey in the February issue of O Magazine that she’s tough on lawyers, but it’s because she admires them and wants them to be prepared.
“I think that being a lawyer is one of the best jobs in the whole wide world,” the justice says in the magazine’s question-and-answer style “O interview.”
“Really?” Oprah asks.
“You want to know why?” Sotomayor says, taking over the job of asking the questions. “Because every lawyer, no matter whom they represent, is trying to help someone, whether it’s a person, a corporation, a government entity, or a small or big business. To me, lawyering is the height of service—and being involved in this profession is a gift. Any lawyer who is unhappy should go back to square one and start again.”
Oprah promptly changes the subject to what it’s like being the first Latino on the highest court. The interview was set in the Bronx at Cardinal Spellman High School, where Sotomayor graduated in 1972. The conversation covers her family, her education, her career rise, her marriage, her divorce, her leopard print pumps and even dating—something she says she hasn’t done since she was confirmed in 2009.
Oprah also talks about Sotomayor’s new book, “My Beloved Life.” The introduction calls it “a moving homage to the justice’s tight-knit family and their life in New York City in the ‘60s and ‘70s.” Oprah says she “wanted to hear all about her amazing journey from the projects to Princeton to the height of the legal profession.”
One surprise comes near then end when Oprah asks about life on the Supreme Court. “Is this the most fun you’ve ever had?”
“And the answer is, truthfully, is no. The life I gave up was the most fun I ever had,” Sotomayor says. In her previous job as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit from 1998 to 2009, “I could be more me. I could go out with friends and not think twice about it.”
“So what becomes your greatest aspiration when you sit on the highest court in the land?” Oprah asks.
The relief of knowing she’ll never have to apply for another job changes that answer, Sotomayor admits. “I don’t have a professional aspiration, but I do have a personal one: I want to continue growing as a person.” She adds, “Ultimately, I would like to be a great justice that people remember with respect and fondness. Decisions are meaningful, and I hope I write some that will last through the ages. But I hope that I’m remembered by others because I touched them in a meaningful way.”