From a leading judicial biographer comes the untold story of Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina Supreme Court justice
To become the first Hispanic Supreme Court justice, Sonia Sotomayor went against the odds. Her historic appointment in 2009—made by President Obama, whose own 2008 victory appeared improbable—flowed from cultural and political changes in America that helped lift up this daughter of a Puerto Rican nurse and a factory worker. Sotomayor saw opportunities and, with street smarts and savvy, she seized them. In Breaking In
, journalist Joan Biskupic weaves a political narrative centered on Sotomayor’s fortuitous timing and personal striving. From housing projects in the Bronx to Princeton University and Yale Law School, Sotomayor’s life tracked the ascent of Latinos in America.
Along the way, she elicited admiration and, as a self-described “affirmative action baby,” resentment. At every step in her climb to the federal bench, she almost did not make it. As Biskupic reveals with extensive research and reporting, Sotomayor developed the connections to navigate a system known for ravaging nominees, especially when race or ethnicity was an element. Obtaining close access to Sotomayor and interviews with the other justices, Biskupic shows how Sotomayor challenges an institution where justices, as a group, have been relatively bland and socially conforming even as they differ radically on the law. In a book that picks up where Sotomayor’s bestselling memoir left off, Biskupic explores the difference this justice is making.