The picture above was taken last Wednesday in Chicago, it shows Justice Sonia Sotomayor hugging a 7-year-old girl at a book signing event. Tabbie Major wanted to know what books the justice loved when she was a young girl and submitted her written question with hopes of an answer.
When the moderator read Major’s question, Justice Sotomayor found the girl and wrapped her arms around her before providing the answer.
“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.”
The hugs weren’t just a Chicago thing. They’re happening across the country where the justice stops on her tour promoting her new book “My Beloved World.”
A U.S. Supreme Court Justice publicly hugging people they just met is unusual, and perhaps unprecedented. Some Google Image Searches yielded photos of other justices hugging the president or their partners at public events, but that was it.
The New York Times recently pointed out Sotomayor’s openness on her book tour stops: “To say that Justice Sotomayor is less cloistered than most of her predecessors and colleagues may be an understatement.”
Her openess may stem from her mission to be a positive role model, specially for young people.
At a recent appearance in Los Angeles, Sotomayor made a group of school age children her priority. The justice only had an hour before she had to catch a plane back to the east coast and asked the audience to please understand that she wanted to meet the young people.
“The number one priority of my justiceship is to, I hope, inspire kids because you see after I’m gone I will live through your memory of me,” Sotomayor told the sold out audience at the Saban Theater, an auditorium with more than 1,200 seats.
The students she was referring to were seated in the highest balcony and they came from different community groups and schools, including the Sonia Sotomayor Learning Academies.
“So please be respectful adults up there and let the kids come down,” Sotomayor told the audience.
And there were more hugs to be had.