Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor visits Anchorage during Alaska vacation
A member of the highest court in America visited Anchorage Wednesday while on vacation in Alaska. U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) Justice Sonia Sotomayor is the third justice to ever visit Anchorage.
Her actions at her speaking event at the Dena’ina Center made it clear she came to meet Alaskans.
“I’m gonna get off the stage and go walk among you,” she told the audience of a little more than 1,000 after just a few moments of chatting on stage.
While her secret service detail wasn’t thrilled about it, she wouldn’t stay in one place.
“I am an extrovert by nature,” she joked.
For the entire hour, she answered questions about her life and the inner workings of the SCOTUS while walking around the room, stopping for the occasional photo and shaking hands and hugging people in the crowd.
It was a personal experience the crowd wasn’t expecting, including 16-year-old Parker Pickett.
“I couldn’t believe that it happened,” he said. “I didn’t expect her to make it all the way to my table and shake my hand!”
Sotomayor is the first person of Hispanic heritage to serve on the SCOTUS and the third woman to be appointed.
She spoke on the importance of diversity, her relationships with the other justices and the first job she’s ever had where there’s no higher court to fix her mistakes.
“We are being asked, as judges, to decided the legal issues that are perplexing every person, business, government, enterprise, not just in the United States but sometimes in the world,” Sotomayor said.
She also shared what she’s been doing here on her trip.
“I took a cruise to the Hubbard Glacier,” she said. “I’ve been to the Arctic. I’ve been to Denali. I have been to Seward to the Sea Life [Center] which is amazing. It’s been an incredible experience for me.”
Wednesday’s event was an experience Susan Cox, the president of the Alaska Bar Association, said Alaskans won’t forget.
“Every one of these people in this room is going to come away with a personal experience of what she’s like, and the next time they hear of a decision coming from Washington, they’ll have a little bit more faith in how that decision is made,” Cox said.
The other two justices who’ve visited Anchorage are Sandra Day O’Connor, who’s now retired, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Correction: An earlier version of this article included a misspelling of Justice O’Connor’s name. This has been corrected.
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