Sonia Sotomayor And The Supreme Court’s New Term

Download Audio

Joan Biskupic on the Supreme Court’s first Latina justice, Sonia Sotomayor, and the high court’s agenda now.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor gestures as she speaks at Oklahoma City University in Oklahoma City, Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014.  (AP)
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor gestures as she speaks at Oklahoma City University in Oklahoma City, Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014. (AP)

The US Supreme Court, without lifting a finger, changed the American landscape on gay marriage this week.  The nine justices of the high court can change your life with the twitch of an eyebrow.  Right in the middle of those nine, Justice Sonia Sotomayor.  Sharp.  Spirited.  Up from a Bronx tenement.  The first Latina Supreme court justice.  Sotomayor has shared her own life in print.  Now Supreme Court correspondent Joan Biskupic picks up where the Justice left off.  The rest of the story - personal and professional.  This hour On Point:  reading Sonia Sotomayor.
-- Tom Ashbrook


Joan Biskupic, legal affairs editor at Reuters. Author of the new book, "Breaking In: The Rise of Sonia Sotomayor and the Politics of Justice." Also author of "American Original: The Life and Constitution of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia" and "Sandra Day O'Connor." (@JoanBiskupic)

Amanda Gomez, On Point Radio fall 2014 intern. (@michelle_agomez)

From Tom's Reading List

NPR News: How Justice Sotomayor Is 'Busting' The Supreme Court's Steady Rhythms — "Biskupic opens her book with a scene illustrating the point. At the end of Sotomayor's first year on the court, the justices are having their annual party. It's in one of the most ornate and beautiful rooms at the court, with painted portraits of past chief justices decorating the walls. It is a very private event, and by tradition, the featured entertainment is a set of skits put on by the law clerks to gently parody their bosses. On this occasion, however, after the skits, something unexpected happens."

Reuters: Sonia Sotomayor v. tradition: Can charisma move the court? -- "Her appointment might be compared to that of the first African-American justice, Thurgood Marshall, the civil-rights giant who developed the strategy leading up to Brown v. Board of Education. President Lyndon B. Johnson had appointed the chief counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund to the court in 1967, as part of a broader civil-rights program. Johnson had been the force behind the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act and sensed that public attitudes about race were shifting."

SCOTUS Blog: First Monday surprise on same-sex marriage: In Plain English — "The second question – what happens next – requires less guesswork.  The short answer is that same-sex marriage will be legal in the five states whose bans were at issue before the Court.  Things are already moving quickly.  In Indiana, county clerks began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples this afternoon, and same-sex marriage ceremonies started in Virginia just after 1 p.m. today."

Read An Excerpt Of "Breaking In" By Joan Biskupic

This program aired on October 9, 2014.


More from On Point

Listen Live