She is our 111th Supreme Court justice. Her name is Sonia Sotomayor. But other than that, what do we know about her?

Every president wants to leave his mark on history by his choice of Supreme Court justices. A question to ask yourself, since so far President Barack Obama has packed the court with two women, where is the balance? Will our next choice be an Asian man or woman? Was Sotomayor an affirmative action nomination?

This book does not give a complete answer to the questions that can be raised. Why her? Is she the best qualified? What experience on the bench does she have that qualifies her for a position on the high court? What type of judge will she be? Author Antonia Felix attempts to help introduce this woman who is an enigma.

Felix condenses the early years of Sotomayor’s life by recording she went to Princeton and Yale for her degrees “My days at Princeton were the single most transforming experience of my life,” Sotomayor says then she goes on to explain, “It was at Princeton that I became truly aware of my Latina identity — an awareness that has shaped the course of my life.”

One of her classmates at Yale remarked about her: “I was struck by her diligence in tracking down the most obscure references and on trying to steer an original and political course through thorny issues of constitutional interpretation.”

The background data of her family is good. That is something that we all need to know. But even that doesn’t explain who she is.

President Obama had a list of four females to choose from. Why did he pick this one? That is not explained either.

Felix includes in this book excerpts of speeches and some articles. She tries to present it in the genre of biography yet it reads like a cover letter of an application for employment. Not much is revealed. I understand that Sotomayor did not allow herself to be interviewed for the book. “Although I was not able to interview Justice Sotomayor,” Felix reports in her acknowledgements, “my conversations with dozens of figures in her life have provided the core of this book.”

Felix is a New York Times best selling author of 125 nonfiction books including biographies of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, former Commander Gen. Wesley Clark, and first lady Laura Bush. She has the credentials to handle this subject.

This is a good beginning to what is needed to understand our Supreme Court justices. Let’s hope that more is written about this women so that we can understand her more.

Contact Dane at

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.