In her first broadcast interview, Justice Sonia Sotomayor tells Scott Pelley how affirmative action affected her life leading up to her appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court. Pelley's profile of the Supreme Court's first Hispanic justice will be broadcast on 60 Minutes Sunday, Jan. 13 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT.
Sotomayor says that the affirmative action in the U.S. today is different than when she was in school and would not discuss the affirmative action case currently before the court. "But I do know that, for me, it was a door-opener that changed the course of my life," she tells Pelley.
Affirmative action played a role in her admittance to Princeton, she recalls, and she remembers it drawing the scrutiny of an adult at her Catholic school in the Bronx. "The first day I received in high school a card from Princeton telling me that it was possible that I was going to get in, I was stopped by the school nurse and asked why I was sent a possible and the number one and the number two in the class were not," she recalls. "Now I didn't know about affirmative action. But from the tone of her question I understood that she thought there was something wrong with them looking at me and not looking at those other two students," says Sotomayor. The same is true today she says. "You can't be a minority in this society without having someone express disapproval about affirmative action."
Sotomayor has written a book, "My Beloved World," that will be available January 15th. In it, she recounts early in her career overhearing a colleague refer to her as "one tough bitch." Asked by Pelley whether the assessment was unfair, she replies "probably not." She tells Pelley she made quite an impression at that corporate law firm which she joined after leaving the Manhattan District Attorney's office. "I was a pretty tough negotiator and hard to push around...I don't think they were used to my kind of toughness then."
Sotomayor has been asked by Vice President Biden to administer the oath of office to him at the upcoming Presidential Inauguration.