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updated: 1/30/2013 11:10 PM

Justice Sonia Sotomayor opens up in speech at library

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  • U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor answers a question at the Chicago Public Library on Wednesday. Sotomayor is on a tour promoting her new memoir, "My Beloved World."

      U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor answers a question at the Chicago Public Library on Wednesday. Sotomayor is on a tour promoting her new memoir, "My Beloved World."
    Associated Press

  • U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor hugs Tabbie Major, 7, during a question-and-answer session Wednesday at the Chicago Public Library.

      U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor hugs Tabbie Major, 7, during a question-and-answer session Wednesday at the Chicago Public Library.
    Associated Press

 
Associated Press

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor gave a heartfelt talk Wednesday during a stop on her book tour, telling an overflow Chicago crowd she was honest and open when she wrote her new memoir, "My Beloved World."

"Just talking about the data of my life wasn't going to touch people," she told an audience of 750 at the Chicago Public Library. "I wanted the world to see my world through my eyes."

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Sotomayor engaged the audience, talking about her favorite Puerto Rican food and how she believes the secret to success is not letting fear stop you. She hugged 7-year-old Tabbie Major, of Chicago, who asked the high court justice about books.

"I read as many Nancy Drew books as I could for the longest time," Sotomayor told the second-grader. "I hope you find someone like Nancy Drew to read."

Sotomayor, 58, also talked about her own writing process, leaving legal writing styles behind to tell stories about her family and her past.

"I wanted to have fun writing this book," she said. "You try to tell a story in an engaging way and hope that in the story people see your messages."

The book does not deal with Sotomayor's more than three years on the Supreme Court or the previous 17 years she spent as an U.S. district and appeals court judge. Instead it tells the story of her rise from a tenement to her entry into service as a federal judge in 1992.

The memoir is unusually personal coming from a Supreme Court justice. It also talks about her diagnosis with diabetes and decision not to have children.

"I wanted everyone to walk away understanding that there are so many differences between us but what's important is our commonality."

Sotomayor discussed little about her work, but did say "it is important to make sure you've heard every argument."

She also talked about the importance of diversity.

"As far as we've come we still have a long way to go to create equality in this society," she said.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel introduced Sotomayor, saying she "has brought a heartbeat to the Supreme Court."

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