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Sotomayor says she worried Obama just had her on Supreme Court short list 'for show'
Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor said in a new interview that, prior to her confirmation to the Supreme Court, she worried that President Obama had her on his short list of potential nominees "for show."
"I didn't actually believe that President Obama was going to pick me," Sotomayor said during an interview on "Red Table Talk: The Estefans," on Facebook. "Everyone else that was on his short list had been interviewed, and I wasn't being interviewed. I thought 'Gee, maybe I'm just there for show.'"
In the interview released Wednesday, Sotomayor also described receiving Obama's call when he asked her to serve as his nominee to the highest court.
"And all of a sudden, my cell phone rings, and I pick it up and the woman on the other side says 'This is the White House switchboard. Please hold for the president.' At that moment, my heart started to thump, and within seconds the president of the United States gets on and says 'I have decided that I would like you to be my nominee to the United States Supreme Court,'" she said.
Sotomayor was interviewed by the Grammy-winning singer Gloria Estefan, her daughter Emily Estefan and her niece Lili Estefan.
She added that she told Obama that she was "crying" on the call, and he told her "Judge, you don't have to cry. I'm putting together the best team to get you through this confirmation process."
Sotomayor in 2009 was the first Hispanic person to be appointed to the Supreme Court.
The justice in the interview also called Supreme Court confirmation hearings before the Senate "horrible."
"During the process, there were critics of my selection. People who were saying that I wasn't smart enough, that I would never make meaningful contributions to the court, and those criticisms stung. They hurt deeply, and at one point I actually thought of pulling out and writing a note to the president and saying 'I don't want any more of this,'" Sotomayor told the show on Facebook.
"And the one person I confided in said to me, 'Sonia, get over yourself. This is not about you. This is about my daughter. She needs to see a Latina as a Supreme Court justice. You can't give up,' and that kind of shook me. It made me realize that, yes, it wasn't about me," Sotomayor continued, later adding that she believes "the greatest obstacle to success is fear."
When asked about her advice to younger generations, Sotomayor said, "Your vision won't happen simply because you desire it. Your vision only happens with hard work and commitment to doing the right thing."
"I speak to kids all the time and I tell them that the most important role in their life is being not a citizen with a capital 'C,' a citizen of a country, but being a citizen with a small 'c,' a citizen of your community. That's the most important role you can play in life," Sotomayor said.