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Sonia Sotomayor

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“I continue to be moved by the chord my life experiences have struck in so many.”

Sonia Maria Sotomayor, 1954–.  Associate Justice, Supreme Court of the United States, 2009–.  Typed Letter Signed, Sonia Sotomayor, one page, 6¼” x 8½”, on blind-embossed stationery of the Supreme Court of the United States, December 11, 2014.  With original mailing envelope.

This is beautiful—and scarce—letter by Justice Sotomayor, the Supreme Court’s first Hispanic and first Latina Justice.  Although her letters undoubtedly exist, we have found no others ever offered yet for sale at auction.

Justice Sotomayor responds to a man who evidently wrote to her about her book, My Beloved World.  She sends a signed photograph (not present) for his great-niece.  In full:  “Thank you for your letter.  I am thrilled to hear you are beginning a new, exciting chapter in your life.  Moreover, I am grateful for your kind words.  I continue to be moved by the chord my life experiences have struck in so many.  /  I have enclosed a signed, official Court photograph addressed to your great-niece, Rylee.  In the years to come, I wish her the joy of dreaming big, working hard and succeeding in all that she does.  /  Thank you also for thinking of me.”

My Beloved World, which was published in January 2013, is a memoir of Justice Sotomayor’s life up to 1992, when she was appointed a federal district court judge.  Born in the Bronx of Puerto Rican parents, she grew up in a housing project and was largely raised by her grandmother after her alcoholic father died when she was nine years old.  She overcame many difficulties to become valedictorian of her high school class and then to attend Princeton University and Yale Law School. 

Justice Sotomayor worked as an assistant United States attorney, where she gained valuable prosecutorial trial experience, before entering private practice.  She was appointed to the trial bench by President George H. W. Bush in 1992 and elevated to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit by President Bill Clinton in 1997.  She served as an appellate judge until President Barack Obama appointed her to the Supreme Court in 2009.

Justice Sotomayor has signed this letter with a bright blue ballpoint signature.  The letter is on engraved Supreme Court chambers stationery with the blind-embossed Supreme Court seal at the upper left. 

The letter is in very fine condition under The Manuscript Society’s stringent grading criteria.  It would grade extra fine were it not for a single horizontal mailing fold, which goes between lines of the text, well removed from the signature.  The accompanying 6” x 10½” manila mailing envelope, which was used because Justice Sotomayor sent a photograph with this letter, has been cleanly slit open at the top and is in fine condition.


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