Sonia Sotomayor: Role Model of Empathy and Purposeful Ambition

15 Pages Posted: 1 Jul 2014 Last revised: 28 Jul 2014

See all articles by Rebecca K. Lee

Rebecca K. Lee

Thomas Jefferson School of Law

Date Written: December 6, 2013


This book review essay discusses U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor's 2013 memoir, My Beloved World. In her memoir, Justice Sotomayor expressly acknowledges that she is a public role model and embraces this responsibility by making herself accessible to a broad audience. As a public figure, she sees an opportunity to connect with others through an account of her life journey, with details of initial challenges and lessons learned along the way, to show that one’s beginnings need not constrain one’s aspirations. Although her memoir ends at the point she begins her judicial career, twenty years ago, her experiences and reflections provide a sense of how she may approach her work on the Supreme Court, including the importance she attaches to perspective-taking — or empathy — in relating to others and viewing the larger world. Her empathic skill, as well as her understanding of public purpose as a Justice and role model, all serve to strengthen the judicial function and present a hopeful picture of further important contributions to come as she continues her work on the bench.

Keywords: Sonia Sotomayor, memoir, judge, empathy, role model

JEL Classification: K40

Suggested Citation

Lee, Rebecca K., Sonia Sotomayor: Role Model of Empathy and Purposeful Ambition (December 6, 2013). Minnesota Law Review Headnotes, Vol. 98, p. 73, 2013, Thomas Jefferson School of Law Research Paper No. 2460601, Available at SSRN:

Rebecca K. Lee (Contact Author)

Thomas Jefferson School of Law ( email )

1155 Island Avenue
San Diego, CA 92101
United States
619-961-4268 (Phone)

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