A Justice Comes Home
September 15 to October 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month in the United States. Sonia Sotomayor, whose parents were from Puerto Rico, is the first Hispanic justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor poses with a statue that is now on display in the Bronx, where she grew up.
When Sonia Sotomayor was a kid in New York City, she watched a TV show about a lawyer and dreamed about working in a courtroom. Today, there’s a statue of Sotomayor in her old neighborhood. Why? She’s now one of the most important judges in the country!
Sotomayor is one of the nine justices (judges) on the United States Supreme Court. That’s the most powerful court in the nation. Supreme Court justices are chosen by the U.S. president and approved by the Senate. The justices make decisions about whether laws are fair—and their decisions affect the entire country. When Sotomayor joined the Supreme Court in 2009, she became the first Hispanic justice on the court.
Sotomayor grew up in the Bronx, which is part of New York City. In September 2022, Sotomayor returned to her old neighborhood to see the unveiling of a statue that was created in her honor. The statue is now on display in a shopping center that’s not far from her childhood home.
“[The statue is] quite amazing,” Sotomayor told the Associated Press. “Looks a lot like me.”
Although Sotomayor now works in Washington, D.C., where the Supreme Court is located, she’s proud to be from the Bronx.
“I love the Bronx. I love my community,” she said.
She’s still a huge fan of the New York Yankees, the baseball team that plays its home games in the Bronx. When she wasn’t watching baseball games, young Sotomayor watched Perry Mason, a TV show about a lawyer. The show made her decide she wanted to become a lawyer. It put her on a path that eventually led to the Supreme Court.
“[Being chosen for the Supreme Court] was the most electrifying moment of my life,” she once told TV host Oprah Winfrey. “[It was] a moment in which you sit and realize that you’ve gone further than any dream you ever had, that you’ve reached something that never seemed possible.”