Justice Sonia Sotomayor speaks at the Herbst Theater in SF about her new book. Jan. 28, 2013
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor is paying a visit to the Bay Area on Monday to discuss her new, best-selling memoir, “My Beloved World,” on a week when federal lawmakers are addressing a topic near and dear to her heart: immigration.
Sotomayor is the first Latina and third woman ever appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court, and she details in a "warts-and-all" style about her early days of living in a housing project in the Bronx, her alcoholic father, and how she came to achieve her larger-than-life ambitions.
She is on a book tour throughout the country, and spoke Monday at the Herbst Theater in San Francisco as part of the Commonwealth Club. She is also scheduled to speak at a sold-out Kepler's book store event at the Fox Theater in Redwood City on Monday at 7 p.m., hosted by Belva Davis.
She warmed up the crowd by telling them a friend had told her to name the book, "Wise Latina," and the audience chuckled.
Then, she got more serious: "I don't think any child has an opportunity to succeed unless they find someone in their life who unconditionally loves them," she told the sold-out crowd, who waited in long lines after she spoke for her to autograph her book.
In interviews with National Public Radio, Sotomayor said she wrote the book to highlight her meager upbringing and inspire people that anyone can do anything in this country, no matter their background, if they put their hearts into it.
"I was given the chance to get the start of the race - and that changed my life," she said.
Sotomayor has been in California since Friday, speaking in Pasadena, and then on San Diego on Sunday. That's where she also talked about immigration: "It is illegal to be undocumented but you can’t paint all aliens with the same brush."
Sotomayor graduated summa cum Laude from Princeton in 1976 and from Yale Law School in 1979. She worked as an assistant district attorney in New York and then at the law firm of Pavia & Harcourt. From 1992 to 1998, she served as a judge of the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, and from 1998 to 2009 on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. In May 2009, President Obama nominated her as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court; she assumed this role in August 2009.
NBC7 San Diego's Monica Garske contributed to this report.