January 12, 2012
Contact:
Anna Bross, NPR


   

SUPREME COURT JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR
IN MULTIPART INTERVIEW WITH NPR NEWS, AIRING JANUARY 14-19

SOTOMAYOR DISCUSSES AFFIRMATIVE ACTION:
"I DON'T LOOK AT HOW THE DOOR OPENED,"
JOURNEY TO U.S. SUPREME COURT WITH NPR'S NINA TOTENBERG

EXCERPTS BELOW AND AT NPR.ORG;
AUDIO & EXCLUSIVE PHOTOS AVAILABLE STARTING MONDAY AT NPR.ORG

In a candid multipart interview airing January 14-19 on NPR, U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor speaks with NPR Legal Affairs Correspondent Nina Totenberg about the journey chronicled in her new autobiography, "My Beloved World." A first-generation Puerto Rican-American raised by her widowed mother, Sotomayor guides Totenberg through the life she began in the tenements of the Bronx and landed in Washington, D.C.: from the death of her alcoholic father when she was a child and her own struggle with diabetes, to the ambition that propelled her through Princeton and Yale, to making history as the first Hispanic Justice sitting on the nation's highest court.

The first report from Totenberg is available now at NPR.org. The conversation is airing in four parts: Monday, January 14 on Morning Edition and All Things Considered. Part three airs Tuesday, January 15 on Morning Edition. And on Saturday, January 19, Weekend Edition Saturday will air part four, in which Sotomayor discusses the role books have played in her life. Audio and transcripts will be available at NPR.org following each piece. On Sunday, January 13, NPR will also have exclusive photos from Sotomayor's personal collection.

Several excerpts from the full interview follow; more is available at NPR.org:

On why her views on affirmative action differ from those of Justice Clarence Thomas, Sotomayor says: "Because as much as I know Clarence, admire him, and have grown to appreciate him and his views, we are different people. I have never, ever focused on the negative of things. I always look at the positive. And I know one thing: if affirmative action opened the doors for me at Princeton, once I got in, I did the work. I proved myself worthy. So I don't look at how the door got opened."

On diligence and determination, Sotomayor says: "I don't swim well. I'm not the best dancer in the world, but you can manage. And when you can't you have to find a way around. You can't let a door stop you. And that's what I've spent my life doing, finding a way around it."

On standing up for herself in the face of adversity, Sotomayor says: "Don't mistake politeness for lack of strength."

On exposing personal vulnerabilities in her autobiography, Sotomayor says: "I think to move people beyond just dreaming into doing, they have to be able to see that you are just like them and you still made it. I realized I had to tell them the truth. And so this book is about that truth."

On rebuilding her relationship with her mother, Sotomayor says: "It has taken us - my mother and I - a lifetime to deal with the effects of my father's alcoholism on both of us. It's often a mutual ignorance that causes, I think, people to be angry at each other and not forgive. And one of the greatest lessons of my life with my mother is both her capacity to forgive and the gift of her teaching me how to, as well."

All excerpts from the interview must be credited to NPR. Broadcast outlets may use up to sixty (60) consecutive seconds of audio from the interview. Television usage must include on-screen chyron with NPR logo.

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