SEATTLE -- She was greeted like an adored aunt -- sometimes shouted-out by the crowd in Spanish. Students at the University of Washington on Monday welcomed Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who is in town to discuss her recently published memoir.
She described her trajectory from "public housing kid in the Bronx" to the highest court in the land like being "catapulted into another alien world."
“Power can corrupt,” she said. “I watch it and I know it can make you full of yourself if you let it. And I'm trying to work very, very hard to always remember that I didn't get to where I got by myself. And I tell my friends I made a very thick book so that when they think I'm getting conceited, they'll hit me over the head with it.”
She encouraged students to explore various subjects, meet people and give back generously and passionately.
“What I mean by giving is taking personal responsibility to think outside of your own needs to look around and say, there is this little piece of my world that I want to make a difference in,” she said.
UW Provost Ana Mari Cauce surprised and delighted the Justice with her question on women's power.
“I’ve often joked that if I ever wrote a memoir, it would be called 'How I became a straight white man.'"
Said the Justice: “We both wield significant amounts of power, but you, like me, are one voice in a much larger organization.”
She said power is shared and to effect change takes persuasiveness - and time.
Sotomayor’s book, “My Beloved World,” is in stores now.