tv Justice Sonia Sotomayor Speaks at Law Library of Congress CSPAN February 14, 2019 3:40pm-4:41pm EST
again, c-span 3, live at the library of congress for a conversation with u.s. supreme court justice sonia sotomayor. we're expecting this to start shortly. running a little behind schedule here. also just a note that the senate is currently voting on the government funding and border security bill, 60 votes needed. you can watch under way on c-span2 live. word from the white house that president trump intends to sign the measure and will also declare a national emergency to build a wall on the southern u.s. border. we'll keep you posted here and on the c-span networks for the latest developments. waiting for u.s. supreme court justice sonia sotomayor in conversation here, live in washington, d.c.
i hope we're fashionably late this afternoon. the justice is getting mic'd up right now. we're about ready to begin. good afternoon, distinguished guests and colleagues. thank you for joining the law library of congress and the united states supreme court today for the 2019 supreme court fellows program annual lecture. my name is jane sanchez and i have the honor of serving as the 25th law librarian of congress. [ applause ]
the law library serves as the nation's custodian of the legal and legislative collection of nearly 3 million items from all countries and legal systems of the world. our foreign law specialists are a diverse group of foreign-trained attorneys and specialists with a diverse group of librarians as well. we do information and analysis of 270 countries around the world. our skilled law library staff, both american trained and law librarians also provide research assistance and reference on u.s. federal and state legal issues. while our collection in expertise reach across all points of the globe, for today's event, we've partnered with our
next door neighbor who happens to be the highest court in the country. while i don't want to overstate our love and admiration for our colleagues across the street, it is probably not mere coincidence that we hold today's event on valentine's day. just sayin'. this afternoon, we are pleased to be able to collaborate with the supreme court as they celebrate their 46th year of the fellows program. it is well known that our featured speaker today has an affinity for baseball. if any of you have time to stay after the event, i encourage you to head up to the second floor of this building to see our baseball americana exhibition. it features items from the library's collections as well as from the national baseball hall
of fame and mlb. please note that today's program is being live streamed on the library of congress youtube channel, so all sounds, images and remarks will be captured on video. please take a moment to silence your cell phones and refrain from taking photos during the event. at this time, i would like to invite jeffrey p. minear, executive director of the supreme court fellows program and counselor to the chief justice of the united states. thank you. [ applause ] >> thank you, jane, for your warm introduction. thanks to you and the law library of congress for your partnership with the supreme court fellows program in sponsoring this afternoon's event. it's wonderful to have such a great turnout for a very special
gathering of the friends and alumni of the program. let me say just a word about the program in my capacity as its executive director. each year, the supreme court fellows commission made up of federal judges and other legal leaders appointed by the chief justice, selects four professionals to spend a year within the federal judiciary, participating in court administration while engaining in research and other enrichment activities. today's event is a public component of two days of activities in which we celebrate our current supreme court fellows and bring together 46 years of fellows program alumni. over the course of today and tomorrow we will select next year's fellows from the superb finalists with us this afternoon. i understand we have many law students as well as law clerks from the courts in the federal and state systems. if you care about the judiciary and are interested in how our federal courts work, i hope you
will take the time to learn about the fellowship opportunity we offer and consider applying in a future year. visit fellows.supremecourt.gov. applications for the '20-'21 class will be due in november. first, we have a great feature this afternoon. we will be joined by the 111th justice of the supreme court of the united states, the honorable sonia sotomayor who has served since 2009. six years ago, justice sotomayor published her best-selling autobiography "my beloved world." she has released two volumes for middle school and elementary school readers. together these books have been inspiring for people of all ages. we are foot gnat to have two wonderful moderators for today's conversation, chief judge robert
a.katzman. he is also the chairman of the supreme court fellows commission. professor eloise pasicof is a scholar. she's a member of theed ademic advisory board for our fellows board program. she served as a law clerk early in her career to highly regarded, judge sotomayor and judge katzman. please join me in welcoming justice sotomayor, chief judge katzman. [ applause ]
>> carla, this room is so beautiful. it's just a beautiful room. >> i have the privilege of asking the first question. justice sotomayor, a few years ago you wrote the best-1e8ing "my beloved world" which is widely acclaimed, available in paperback, required reading in school districts across the country. in the past year, you've published two more books, this time for younger readers. one called "turning pages" illustrated by lulu delarka and the other called "the beloved
world of sonia sotomayor." you managed to do this while also having a busy, important day job. what motivated you to write these books? >> i should tell the story of "my beloved world." the publication department of my publisher, random house penguin called me up one day and said, we really should do this event. and i said, michelle, it's pretty hard for me to break away and do that event. i just can't say yes. and she persisted for a few more minutes and i stopped her and i said, michelle, i have a distracting little job. and it doesn't let me do that. she actually quoted those words and put them up on her desk to reminded herself there were priorities sometimes in life. i have to do that sometimes,
too. writing books is not a distraction for me. writing these particular books was an important mission for me. the the middle school book, "the beloved world of sonia sotomayor" is a product of my cousin who's described in the book, my cousin, miriam, a bilingual education middle school teacher in stanford, connecticut. she's been using my adult book for lesson plans for her students for a number of years but she kept insisting she needed a middle grade book because the parent book, now that i have two kids book. my parent book had too many sophisticated concepts. and she wanted me to have a middle school book that dealt more with the stories that children could more easily understand.
and so when the publisher came to me about the middle school book, i was already primed by miriam to do that. but then they talked about a yu younger reader book, and i realized that that would be a book that was equally as important because i wanted to be able to reach people, young people and older people, of all ages, and all capabilities of reading. and for those of you who are adults, i've ended up loving the young reader book, "turning pages." the illustrations, and i didn't do them, lulu did, are just stunningly beautiful. and completely accurate. i had no idea how hard illustrators worked until i worked with one. she did incredibly extensive
research on every single scene. she was in the library and on the internet constantly to make sure that that every single detail was accurate. and she went through -- i have a suitcase of old photographs. lots of people have gone through that suitcase, including me. she not only went through it but devoured it and found things that i didn't even know. so one scene in "turning pages," she gave me a picture with me and these flowered pants. and i wrote back, i would never wear flowered pants. and she sent me back a picture of me as a kid wearing flowered pants. and i said, okay, i stand corrected. but it was that -- she's just done an extraordinary job. but it was from the hope that my story will serve as an
inspiration for kids who came from my kind of background to know that what i have achieved is possible for them, too. and that's the purpose of my books. to tell those kids who come from circumstances similar to my own that all dreams are really possible. and having a living example, i think, is terribly important to people who live in situations in which their life can often ap r appear impossible or so desperate that no good can come from it. and so that's the purpose of all three of my books. i hope to give hope. >> so there's another way in which you've been touching children's lives recently, and that's through your work with
civics education. >> ah. >> so you've been active in this program called icivics founded by justice sandra day o'connor after she stepped down from the supreme court to engage students in civics education. so maybe could you talk to us about why that's an important mission, what's necessary about it and what are you doing with it? >> maybe i'll tell you ou how i started getting involved with isiti i icivics. there was an event honoring justice o'connor and her legacy about four years and and i attended the event. among the speakers was the head of icivics and she described the purpose of icivics and the games. and as i was watching her demonstrate one of the games, i thought to myself, i wonder if these games could teach civics to bilingual education students,
where 10% of the population in the united states, it's a big percentage, could this be used to teach them civics? so i called miriam. she's instrumental in a lot of things i do. and she said to me, i love the games, but they're too sophisticated for my students. for students who are just beginning to master the english langua language, they're not quite accessible yet. my next question was, do you think the games could be tweaked to make them accessible? she said, let me think about it. she came back to me a day later, said yes to me question, and i said i'm putting you in touch with louise debu, the one in charge of icivics, and let's talk to her about your idea. so they talked. and an advisory committee was put together of educators across the country and the games are now being translated into
spanish, but the exercise taught us that there were things in the english versions that were hindering slow learners. so one of the things we found out, or realized, is that some slow learners, whether they're spanish speaking or any other language speaking, or just slow readers, have a problem with literal words. throw the book at someone. they don't understand the secondary meaning of something like that. and so now we created a glossary not just for the spanish speakers, but for the english speakers who have trouble with literalism, and believe it or not, there's quite a sizable population of readers with that difficulty. including some younger readers who have not been exposed to terms like that.
so now there's an english glossary and a spanish glossary. so two of the games have been translated. they're now working on more of the games. but it was my small contribution to being asked as a result of calling about this issue to join the board after justice o'connor was stepping away from public life. they wanted a part of the supreme court to always be represented in icivics because she was its founder. and its originator. i challenge every person in this room to go on to icivics.org. play the game. it's free. pick one game. do i have a right? if you can answer every question right, you get 100%. then i'll excuse you from playing more games. if you don't, you noeed to go
back for a civics lesson and play more of the games. okay? it is surprising how many people don't -- who are very well educated don't get 100% on the games. the kids love them. it teaches them about civics. the more fundamental part of your question was why. the answer is very simple. we can't preserve our democracy unless our citizens are informed about it. ben franklin was asked as he was leaving the constitutional convention, what do we have, doctor, a monarchy, or a republic? and his response was, "a republic, if you can keep it." and we can't keep it without being educated about our civic life. and our civic responsibilities.
because we have rights because they come with obligations and they obligate us to preserve our democracy. and to work on ensuring that it remains vibrant. and so my charge to me, personally, and morally, as a justice, is to ensure that i don't just write about the constitution, but that i teach about it. and that i try to inboone every person i come into contact with with a passion and love for it as deep as the one i feel, because for me, we don't create a more perfect union unless we unless our union and are working act iively as a community to empower it and ensure that every member is striving as hard as we are individually to be active in
it. and so it was justice o'connor's goal to ensure that every child in america is taught civics. i agree with her mission. and i'm doing everything i can to if further it even more than she already did. >> i can't wait to have you back at your old courthouse at 40 foley square because in the thurgood marshall courthouse, we've launched a circuit-wide project, justice for all-courts in the community. . i think it's the notion's first coordinated civic education program involving every court in our circuit. and we have this wonderful learning center where children can come in and meet with the judges.
we have teacher institutes where teachers come in and meet with judges and scholars about soecil stud stu studies. we have financial literacy programs for adult education. . we have curriculum exchanges with the boards of education on how to teach. we go out to the communities every day, law week, constitution week, and we've got a wonderful poster about you. so you definitely have to come back. and we're working on an exhibit, sonia sotomayor and her times, and what you'll be able to do, sonia sotomayor i know is born in 1954, and you'll be able to check 1970, what was she doing in 1970? what was happening in the country? what was happening in the world? and it's a way of bringing our
young people closer to the communities, to the courts and bringing us closer to the communities that we serve. so we can't wait to have you back with us as we -- >> so go back to -- go into new york if you visit and make sure you visit 500 pearl street. the learning center, i saw it before it was opened. or pieces of it before it was open. >> it's at 40 foley. >> oh, 40. okay. sorry. 40 foley. >> one of the things that's really quite moving as an example is -- >> they're right next door to each other. >> if you're a student or an adult, thurgood marshall in his times, 1950s, you go into a kiosk and you listen to thurgood marshall argue cooper versus aaron. you hear his voice in the supreme court. and for a young person, how extraordinary is that to bring
to life one of the great icons. now, you' were a judge for almot 17 years before president obama nominated you to the supreme court. versus a federal trial judge in new york city then as a court of appeals judge in new york. what are some of the differences between your day-to-day work on those courts and your current day-to-day work on the supreme court. i won't ask you which job you like better. >> but i'll answer that. i'll include an answer to that. i've often described the difference between the three courts as follows. borrowing the words of one of my former colleagues, reena rogie, district court life is like controlled chaos. there's a fast-moving pace every single moment of every single
day. there are countless different motions running and jumping through your door. there are hearings and trials and procedures of all kinds occurring in the courtroom. what you can expect of a day in the district court is that one day will never look like the preceding day and no two days are ever identical. amount of information that you absorb as a judge is in one given day is so large that at the end of my first year as a district court judge, i told a friend that i finally understood why the brain is a muscle. mine had expanded so far from all of the knowledge i was stuffing into that it was a good thing it was a muscle and it could stretch. it is not only varied in matters
the district court judge is handling, but in the -- and the issues that you're dealing with, but it's also varied in your human interactions with people. you're dealing with lawyers and not just in cursory ways a conference or a motion might be, but in a hearing, they're going to appear before you for a number of hours, if not days, and certainly for days if not weeks or months in an extended trial. you get to know not just those lawyers and their personalities, but their styles and what's important to them as litigators, just as they get to know what's important to me as a judge, it's a very personal enterprise and you're hearing witnesses, you're hearing from parties. you're dealing with jurors and their own pick diadillos and th reactions. one of the most fun things for
me to do was watch a litigator present his or her case before a jury and watch how the jury was reacting. and i would often take notes and at the end of the trial go back to the litigants and say, you know when you did this, the jurors didn't like it. and i'll tell you why i think why. or they really enjoyed that part of your presentation. maybe you should think of including more of that in what you're doing. but what you're focused in on as a trial judge, as a district court judge, is the parties before you. and you're trying to resolve their dispute. you're trying to understand why this case is important to them. what about the issues is motivating this dispute? and you're also trying to figure out what's important to them in terms of settling the case if
you can because that's part of your charge to try to avoid the litigation if you can. sometimes you can't, but you have to understand the why of that. and so i often talk about a district court judge being focused on finding justice for those two parties. when you're on a court of appeals, an appellate court, it's a different kind of justice. you're trying and dealing within the parameters set by the supreme court and the precedents it's created, and the precedents of your own circuit, and you're looking for a sense of uniformity in that part of your world in the circuit. so you're trying to find justice under the law as it exists at that moment in that place, your circuit. so it's justice for the law in
that place. when you're on the supreme court, and there, life is more contemplative. you are dealing with lots of cases. certainly not as many as on the district court. only about, i think it's te10%, the maximum, 15% of all district court cases ever end up on appeal, generally, so you're dealing with a volume that is by definition much smaller than on the district court. most of the cases, not all, they all have one or more twists in them, but they're more clearly controlled by precedent than not. you do get maybe in that 10%, 10% of the cases that might ultimately be reviewed by the supreme court. it's a smaller fraction of your overall work. i don't want to say the circuit
court can become more rutnized but it does have a pace where there are things that are much more controlled clearly by prior law, prior precedent, and so what you're trying to do is to ensure that you get to your work in an efficient way so the parties are not kept waiting forever. the same tasks the district court is trying to do, but you're trying to be clear for those parties within your jurisdiction. supreme court, well, we take now on average 60 to 70 cases a term. it's been closer to the 60 mark the last couple of years. last couple of terms. there's less volume, but every case the supreme court takes is a supreme court case. and what that means is that it's an unsettled ld area of law.
it's an area in which reasonable jurists across the country have disagreed because we rarely, if ever, take a case unless there's a split among the courts below. there are 13 circuit courts across the country, and those courts don't all agree on issues of law. and it is those cases that the supreme court exists to correct. those cases in which those reasonable judges of both genders are agreeing or disagreeing. they're harder cases. we also tend to have more, much, much more reading than even in the courts below. the number of amici brief can multiple into the tens. the research in terms of not just the case readings, themselves, but even for me,
reading articles and journals about areas of law in those areas that i know less about or i'm less comfortable with is much more extensive on the supreme court than it was on the lower courts. but what are we doing justice for? we're doing justice for the law as it should be. because we're not just looking at the case before us, and there are some who would argue that that's what the supreme court should be doing, but every time we announce a principle of law, we are, or of interpretation of law, we are deciding not just that case but the cases that come after it. and so it's not uncommon in the supreme court for a supreme court justice to ask a litigant if we follow your rule, isn't the natural outcome this other
extreme? so i'll give you an example that occurred on the court of appeals, but it happens regularly on the circuit court. i had a case involving the 1st amendment where a judge had issued a gag order stopping the press from reporting on information that had been disclosed in court. and the appeal came to us by the litigant, by the newspaper, who claimed that was an abridgment of the 1st amendment because anything said publicly in court was subject to public dissemination. one of the questions that i asked was, what happens in the following scenario? there is a bomber on trial, a
terrorist, and he takes the stand, and in the middle of his testimony, he says, these infidels have to be destroyed. another bomb is going to go off in it five minutes. and this is proof that god is not here to save you. the prosecutor jumps up and says, your honor, please bar the press from leaving the room and disseminating this story. we need to call the fbi to get them there in time to save people and try to find that bomb. what does the judge do? and the lawyer says he denies the request. that came out in open court. and i look at him and i say, and you're unwilling to save all of those people in those five
minutes could be saved? and his response was, judge, i didn't tell you that in the order of his courtroom he couldn't lock the door for five minutes. not a perfect answer, but an answer. and that's what we do with all of our cases. we take the principles that we announce and try to figure out where they will lead us. where they're going to lead the society and the lower courts. and if it's a place that doesn't seem to fit within the constitutional theory as we understand it, then we have to look at the premise and figure out if we need to change an outcome. and so for us, it is justice for the law as it should be. and those are very much the
stark differences between the three courts. in answer to your unspoken question, i have -- >> i didn't ask you who your favorite colleague was. >> that i won't answer. >> but i have announced that if i ever -- if, underscore that word -- ever take senior status, that i would go back to being a district court judge. it's a lot of fun. >> i'm going to follow up on the fun part in that last question and ask, what do you do for fun with this businesy day job and the extras you add on? how do you relax and unwind after all this? >> first of all, i love exercise. i do do some exercise. when i'm not injured. some injuries are self-inflicted.
falling is not smart. i can assure everybody in this room. i love exercise. i do like reading. i like reading fiction as opp e opposed to serious books when i can although that seems to be getting relegated more and more to my summers rather than to the term year. although, i've been doing my book tour and i've gotten to read a lot of children's books lately. and that's been a lot of fun. and i also like playing poker. and i play poker with people i really like. >> before we open it up for q&a from the audience, do you have in mind a next book? >> oh, it's coming out in september. it's a second children's book. when the publisher was very interested in doing the story of my life and "turning pages" is
that for young readers, but i conditioned it on doing the children's book that i've wanted to do forever. and it's a book about children who face life challenges. and it was borne from an incident that occurred to me -- that happened to me, not occurr happened to me when i was younger. i was in a restaurant and at a time when i was hiding my diabetes from the world. i went into a bathroom and was taking my shot. someone happened to walk in as i was doing it. i sort of finished what i was doing and left the room. and as i was leaving the restaurant and walking by the table of the woman who had come in, she was leaning over intoed a drug addict. in a stage whisper. and i was outraged and i walked
back to her and said, i'm a diabetic. and that shot i took is my insulin and it's what i use to stay alive. you should not be judgmental and judging people. if you don't know something, ask. don't assume. and i walked away. and as i've been living my life and i have many, many friends with children with chronic conditions, and some with conditions obviously they can't help like tourettes syndrome, and in a store recently, someone looked at my friend and said, can't you control your child? because her child has twisted in an unusual way and banged into her by mistake. and my friend was just so hurt for her daughter.
and that incident and mine made me realize that i wanted to write a children's book about kids, and there are so many of us, with conditions that challenge their life and i wanted to explain that the richness of those conditions, richness in the sense of the positive things that they bring to our life as a community. and so my next book is "just ask." hence, where the title came from. right? "be different, be brave, be you." that's the title of the book. and it describes children with all kinds of conditions, diabetes, obviously. i start out with me. but children in wheelchairs, children who are blind, children who are deaf, children with
turets syndrome. children who have attention deficit. children with down syndrome. children of all kind with life challenges and i describe the frustrations of those challenges, the difficulties, but also the things that they help us with. how they make us stronger and more important contributing members to our community. it's set in a garden, and i show how every garden has different things in it just like the world does. and we're a richer garden and a richer world because of children who are different. and so that's my book, and that comes out in september. [ applause ] >> we can't wait for that book to come out. >> sure. >> i've told my brother, the doctor, he has to put it in his
office. >> so we're now going to have some q m&a from the audience. >> rall right. i'm coming down to say hello to everybody. are you going to be brave enough to get up and tell me who asked the question? >> yes. >> all right. >> as jeff, our lead e pointed out, this is a gathering of the supreme court fellows commission. and we're going to hear questions from some supreme court fellows alumni. the first question is from sarah wilson. >> sarah, where are you? >> here i am. >> sarah knows me very, very well. she probably knows more of my life than i need to know. >> how are you? >> great to see you. it's wonderful. >> so good. she was an instrumental part of my being on the supreme court because she was the person who led me through my district court nomination. so i am eternally grateful to her. [ applause ]
>> thank you so much for those wonderful remarks. what advice would you give a new judge, either a new trial judge or a new intermediate appellate judge, given that you have served on all levels of the federal judiciary? >> ah. that's a -- i'm going to walk up and i need somebody to guide me. so you come down. i don't need that. give it back to her. thank you, sarah. >> thank you. it's advice that you're obviously going to find difficult to understand. to be a judge, you have to be decisi decisive. you have to come to a conclusion. both because you can't angst forever about one case, otherwise, everybody who appears before you will suffer. that kind of delay will cause
justice, justice delayed is justice denied, that old saw is very important to understand and respect. on the other hand, you have to be willing to admit when you make mistakes. and many of us forget that when you become a judge. there's a temptation to say, well, that's the way i ruled, i had to be right. or i can't look indecisive to others so i can't change my mind. i think that's an error. i think that you have to use judgment. you have to work efficiently at thinking about all the possibilities and coming to a decision, but every once in a while, you should pause and rethink something to ensure you got it right. one of the justices i most
admire, john paul stephens, one of the speeches, last speeches that i heard him give just after he left the bench was at fordham law school in which he described the three areas of law where his views had changed over time. where he had become educated by learning that he had been wrong. and i hope that i can follow his example. i have in small ways, and so especially in trials, not all the time because you can't do it all the time, but occasionally, i'd be in the middle of a trial, someone would race an objection. i'd say, denied. and i'd go home that night or go back to my office and say to my law clerks, you know, i'm uncomfortable with that decision, go -- please help me find some research on it. i read it, i go back the next morning and say, i made a
mistake, let's start again, let's do this one over. there have been moments where i've voted both on the court of appeals where i took a position, i wrote the opinion, and after writing it, i said, i'm wrong, and i've written the second opinion. and going the other way. and i've sent both to the panel. and i said, i wrote myself out of this. in one case, the panel went with me. in another case, they went the other way. and ultimately, i was proven right, but that's besides the point. but if i give any advice to a new judge, is keep an open mind. i think that ability to say, i can make mistakes, lets you listen in a way that opens you
up to accepting that you're a human being and that your initial thoughts on something don't have to be your final thoughts. and so for me, that has been an important lesson. >> our second question comes from derek webb. 2014-2015 supreme court fellow. >> hello. how are you? >> hi, justice. >> good to see you again. >> good to see you. so i've heard recently that you've been working with your neighbor on the bench, justice gorsuch, on civic education programming. >> we have. we've had so much fun, but i can't talk him into coming off the stage. >> oh, right. >> i keep telling him over time, he'll get used to it. >> you might prevail on that. the question i had is sort of why did you -- the two of you decide to get into this program on civic education, and in a moment when citizens and lawyers are sometimes having difficult
times talking with each other across political differences and legal differences. what connection do you see between your program, work on civic education, and other virtue of sort of civility? >> i think that the supreme court is a prime example for the nation of how you can agree -- disagree agreeably. and that's a hard thing to do. to listen to people who are fundamental different than you are, and to really go head to head with them on an issue, and if you've seen some of our writing, you know that in writing, we go head to head, and we're not always so civil in writing. we're trying to fix that up, but we're not always as civil as i would like, including me. but that's always because you're passionate. it's very hard to disagree with somebody and they write something that you think is
terribly wrong and you not want to take them and shake them and say, why can't you see this? what's wrong with you? that's the gut instinct. the hard part is to fight that gut and say, okay, you disagree with me, i will try to understand why. i will explain in my opinion why you're wrong, and if you still don't agree, i'm going to leave it to history to figure that out. but i don't have to dislike you because of it. i think that we forget that people who differ from us, even on what we sometimes think are fundamental issues, and, you know, i had a friend who once said to me, my son can't marry a republican. and i looked at her and i said, you can't really mean that, that's ridiculous. and she said, no, no, no, no, there's a fundamental difference
in values between the two parties. and i said, there's no fundamental difference in values between people. we all have some basic values that cut across cultures, gender, parties, religions. everything. we are all committed to family. we all believe in the importance of family and being supportive, in loving those people who are a part of us. we all believe in friendship and in being supportive in those friendships. we all believe in our country. we all want us to succeed. those are the fundamental values that we have to look to. now, the expressions of it, we can fight about, we can talk about, but you have to look at the good in people. you cannot look at what you are
tach painting as bad, as defining them as human beings. and so if you start from there, it becomes easier to disagree agreeably. and justice gorsuch and i have found ways to do that. we have disagreed already on a lot of things. but we've agreed on a couple of things and one of the things we're most committed to is civic education. both of us. and it didn't matter to me that he wasn't voting for me more often, although obviously i hope over time i'll convince him more. but in the interim, it's fun to work with him. he -- it is fun -- i mean, people are reporting that we're constantly laughing on the bench together. we can poke fun at each other, and it is poking fun. it's not criticism. it's not anger.
it's just enjoyment of each other as people. he's a lovely person. and to the extent that both of us fundamentally love this country and love children as much, we're doing something that we both think is important. i hope most of the world would figure out how to find that common ground and work in that common ground more often. but we tend, recently, to be going to the uncommon rather than the common ground. >> we have time for one last question. deborah. a 2015-2016 supreme court fellow. >> hello, deborah. >> hi, how are you? >> i didn't pick these guys. okay? >> you spoke -- >> but i happen to know them and like them a lot. >> is you spoke a little bit earlier about what you hope children will take from the books that you've been writing
over the past few years. i'm wondering what you've learned about yourself through the process of writing these books. >> i've learned so much, but about myself, well, i've learned a lot about -- you know, if you -- i went to an event at chicago and there was a reporter who came up to me at the event and said, how many years of psychotherapy have you been in? and i looked at her, i said, what are you talking about? and she said, nobody could write this kind of book without having gone through therapy. and my answer was, this book has been my therapy. you know, the reason i wrote the book was my first year on the supreme court, it was such a shocking, jarring, experience. i went from a modest stage in
new york. it wasn't so modest a job, but it was a lovely job on the circuit court of appeals. and i was on a somewhat limited stage there, to a world stage. i was catapulted, yanked, out of a semiprivate life into this world stage. and everything was happening so fast. the hearings were weekly. all of a sudden, i'm at the supreme court, nominated at the end of may. i'm at the supreme court the beginning. and the first case on my desk is citizens united. all right. one of the biggest cases, probably one of the most important cases in modern times. and i am being vetted by
presidents, vice presidents, senators, representatives, people from around the globe, famous people, not so famous people. but, you know, i had dinner with jennifer lopez and marc anthony. >> hi, justice. >> how are you? and i became afraid -- you know, i got to get around. i became afraid. yes. that in this process, i would lose me. you've heard the old adage, power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely. and i realize that being in this kind of position can both isolate you and absorb you so you became self-absorbed.
and i needed a way to avoid that. so what did i do? i absorbed myself in myself by taking that first summer and escaping from being a justice, to looking at my life and trying to figure out and remember how i got where i got. and that's what my beloved world is is that personal journey for me, of remembering the people, the life situation, and the circumstances that created who i am. and it's that that i want to keep a part of me. how much i valued and value all of those people who have made little pieces of me is so deeply engrained in my psyche and so important to me. and i wanted to make them real
for other people, but i also wanted you to find within yourselves that which created you. and to learn how to appreciate it even with all its warts. i never thought, and it's hard to explain, there are incidents in my book that i describe that i never thought that i could forgive others for. and i think i speak with pride when i say the book helped me find those moments of forgiveness. and so that was surprising because we all hold hurts and moments of anger that are so deep within us that we never think we can let them go. and writing the books has helped me do that. so, yes, that's what it's taught me, which is there is nothing we
can't forgive. especially if especially what we learned from it. so it's been a joy for me to write these books. "just ask" book will be a slight different venue for me, but even there, i'm sharing and letting go. every child who's different in some way, or perceives themselves to be, holds some hurts and anger about it, and so i've learned for myself how to let some of that go, and i hope it will help them do the same. [ applause ] thank you. so much.
be brave, be bold, and be you. thank you. [ applause ] have you seen c-span's newest book, "the senate"? hundreds of gorgeous photos. magnificent, says don richie. senate historian emeritus. and senate historian richard baker says, mesmerizing photographs establish this book as the ultimate insider's tour.
to order your high-quality paperback copy of "the senate" for just $18.95 plus shipping, visit c-span.org/senatebook. if biel street could talk received three oscar nominations for original score, best supporting actress, and best adapted screen play. sunday on "q&a" we'll discuss the movie based on the 1974 james baldwin novel with the "washington post" deputy local editor, monica nortam. >> i thought the film "if bael street could talk" was visually beautiful. the thing that really sticks with you is just how loving and lovely the film is. >> i think his writing really does deal with love, whether it's universal love, loving one's self f, love between
people and society. i really think that that is the overarch aing theme. a lot of people see him because he was so passionate in fighting for the rights of african-americans that sometimes i think that people mistake that for anger and i don't think -- i think he was not angry but forceful in his denunciation of racism. >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span's "q&a." former texas solicitor general scott keller who led lawsuits against obama administration immigration policies joined a panel of lawyers and law professors discussing nationwide injunction cases during the obama and trump administrations. this discussion was part of the federalist society's annual western chapters conference. >> so with that, i'd like to introduce our first