Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s taxpayer-funded staff frequently pushed colleges and libraries to purchase her books ahead of speaking engagements, according to the Associated Press.
Supreme Court staff often assisted with arranging speaking engagements designed to promote Sotomayor’s books, which have earned the justice a minimum of $3.7 million since she took her seat on the bench in 2009, promoting them to hosts who purchase hundreds or thousands of copies ahead of appearances, according to the AP.
Prior to a 2019 event in Portland, Oregon, to promote Sotomayor’s children’s book “Just Ask!,” court staff told a public library they had not purchased enough copies—which attendees needed to get in line to meet the justice following her speech.
“For an event with 1,000 people and they have to have a copy of Just Ask to get into the line, 250 books is definitely not enough,” an aide to Sotomayor, Anh Le, told the staff at the Multnomah County Library, per emails obtained by AP. “Families purchase multiples and people will be upset if they are unable to get in line because the book required is sold out.”
The library, which co-hosted the event with Portland Community College, initially pledged $1,500 while the college offered $1,000. Costs ultimately spiked to over $20,000 as Sotomayor’s aide continued to manage the details, requesting venues and approving camera angles, according to AP.
“I have never believed that Supreme Court justices should write books to supplement their judicial incomes,” former federal appeals court Judge J. Michael Luttig, who was appointed by George H. W. Bush and called for stricter Supreme Court ethics rules in May, told the AP. “The potential for promotion of the individual justices over the Court at the reputational expense of the Court as an institution, as well as the appearance of such, is unavoidable.”
When Sotomayor spoke at Michigan State University in 2018, the school spent $110,000 for 11,000 signed copies of “My Beloved World,” her memoir, to give to incoming freshmen. Books were first shipped to the Supreme Court, where they were signed by Sotomayor, the AP reported.
Similarly, staff told Clemson University officials who offered to order 60 signed copies for a 2017 event that most schools bought around 400, according to the AP. Staff also suggested book purchases to other schools Sotomayor was scheduled to visit for various reasons, including commencement at University of California, Davis law school.
The Supreme Court told the AP it works with staff and justices to make sure they comply “with judicial ethics guidance for such visits.”
“When (Sotomayor) is invited to participate in a book program, Chambers staff recommends the number of books (for an organization to order) based on the size of the audience so as not to disappoint attendees who may anticipate books being available at an event,” the court told AP.
Sotomayor, along with Justice Neil Gorsuch, previously failed to recuse from cases involving their publisher, Penguin Random House, CNN reported.
The Supreme Court’s public information office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Originally published by The Daily Caller News Foundation
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