Justice Sotomayor Pushing Sale of Her Books Sparks Debate

Justice Sotomayor is not only a Supreme Court Justice, but also a successful author. But there are concerns for the overlap of her job fields.

Book Culture Book News

A report on Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor has just revealed that she’s been using taxpayer-funded staff to help sell her books. After joining the Supreme Court in 2009, Sonia Sotomayor has since earned $3.7 million from her literary career. Here’s what we know about her high sales since joining the Supreme Court and why some readers worry about the ethics of her method.

Who is Justice Sotomayor?


Sotomayor is the first Hispanic and third woman to be a member of the Supreme Court. Her rise to this position, from a difficult upbringing in the Bronx to a lawyer and finally to a Supreme Court Justice, makes her an icon for many.

With a story as powerful as that, Sotomayor has written many books on the matter. My Beloved World is a memoir about her life story, but she also has books for children to understand what she did, like Turning Pages. She’s been a well-liked public figure for most of her career. Considering all she’s done, it’s no surprise she’s a role model and that she’s written so much about her life. The issue, however, is how these books are being promoted.

How Did She Sell So Many Books?

While it’s undeniable that she has a very interesting life, it’s rather impressive that she’s managed to earn millions from her work. That only really happens with a good sales team. And Sotomayor has an interesting method.

The Associated Press just released a report that Sotomayor has been using her staff to help promote her literary career, along with other reported details about the practices of Supreme Court Justices. Her staff helped ask schools how many copies they wanted to buy and facilitated the sales. There are a lot of documents providing all sorts of information about the supreme court justices, but in this case, it’s emails between Justice Sotomayor’s staff and the staff managing events that have caused concern.

For an event with 1000 people and they have to have a copy of Just Ask to get into the line, 250 books is definitely not enough. Families purchase multiples and people will be upset if they are unable to get in line because the book required is sold out,

Anh Le, Assistant to Justice Sonia Sotomayor, 2019 email

They were organizing events, all to help promote her books and her sales. The staff was very direct in asking organizations to buy more books, especially schools and libraries. If it sounds a bit strange to allow taxpayer-funded staff to be part of book promotions, you wouldn’t be the only one concerned.

Allowing federal staff to help promote personal careers, like being an author, doesn’t happen within other branches of the government. But the Supreme Court Justices get a little more leeway, meaning what Sotomayor did is entirely legal for her department.

Will Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s Practices Change?

This discovery is, unfortunately, a matter of ethics and not legality. There’s no legal reason for her to change the way she’s promoting books. Although, with public backlash, she may stop for her reputation. But not everyone sees an issue with using her staff to promote her books. The Supreme Court has previously promised that they are complying with judicial ethics, so it’s unlikely their practices will change.

Want more book news? Check out this article about book rating laws.