Supreme Court justice collects hundreds of thousands of dollars while pressuring schools to buy her books

Supreme Court justice collects hundreds of thousands of dollars while pressuring schools to buy her books
Justice Sonia Sotomayor (Image: YouTube screen grab)

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor has collected thousands of dollars by pressuring colleges and universities to buy her books. The Associated Press reports that Sotomayor and her staff, along with her publisher, pressured schools to purchase copies of her books as a requirement for her public speaking appearances. Sotomayor has collected $3.7 million from books and speaking appearances since she was appointed to the Supreme Court over a decade ago.

Prior to Justice Sotomayor’s appearance at Clemson University six years ago, university officials and Sotomayor’s staff debated how many copies of her memoir, “My Beloved World,”  the university should purchase for attendees. The officials suggested that 60 books would be too many for the Justice to sign, but her staffers claimed that “most institutions order in the ranges of 400 and up.” The same year, The State University of New York at Albany purchased a whopping 3,700 copies of her book prior to her appearance.

The following year, Stony Brook University, which is also part of the state university system of New York, ordered 3,900 copies of Sotomayor’s book. Also in 2018, Michigan State spent more than $100,000 on 11,000 copies of Sotomayor’s book to give to freshmen as part of its annual reading program.

In 2019, Sotomayor spoke at a joint event between Portland Community College and the Multnomah County Library to peddle her children’s book, “Just Ask!: Be Different, Be Brave, Be You.” The college pledged $1000 for the event, and the library another $1500. But costs mushroomed from $2500 to about $20,000 by the time it was held in Fall 2019.

Sotomayor’s assistant repeatedly badgered school officials about the number of books they were willing to buy. Emails obtained by the Associated Press show that despite handing out 550 free tickets to the public, only 28 books were purchased. The assistant then pressured school officials to buy more than the 250 copies ordered for the event, saying that attendees needed to purchase a book to meet Sotomayor. The assistant also pressured the officials to display all of Sotomayor’s books on sale, not just the kid’s book.

Justice Sotomayor receives a salary of $285,000, and rules governing the Supreme Court limit outside income to $30,000. But book income is exempt from that limit. Sotomayor has collected at least $400,000 from sales of her children’s book over the last four years.

LU Staff

LU Staff

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