Justice Sotomayor charms audience in Pittsburgh

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Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor charmed a near-capacity audience at Carnegie Music Hall in Oakland Tuesday night as she recounted some of the experiences that lead her to the nation's highest court.

The 59-year-old justice told the crowd of more than 2,000 that she decided to write her memoir, "My Beloved World," while going through the nomination process to join the Supreme Court.

"I began to worry for myself about whether I would lose Sonia in that process," she said.

Justice Sotomayor was confirmed to the Supreme Court three months after President Barack Obama nominated her in May 2009. She is the first Hispanic justice on the court.

Published last year, her memoir delves into her childhood living in a crime-ridden Bronx neighborhood, her Ivy League education and her life through 1992.

She described herself as "an ordinary person who's been blessed with some extraordinary opportunities."

Justice Sotomayor credited part of her success to becoming self-reliant at an early age.

She told the audience that she was diagnosed with diabetes at age 7 and learned, with the help of her mother, to give herself daily insulin shots. She decided to take on the task so she could stay overnight at her grandmother's house.

As part of the conversational program with Mark Nordenberg, chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh, Justice Sotomayor also took questions from the audience.

She said she asks herself two questions every night: "What have I learned new today and what act of goodness have I done today?"

Marylynne Pitz: mpitz@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1648.

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