U.S. Supreme Court
Sotomayor Details Twists and Literal Wrong Turns En Route to D.C.
Posted Sep 25, 2009 10:21 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss
A U.S. Supreme Court confirmation hearing can be a difficult process. It turns out, that just getting to Washington, D.C., for the nomination announcement can also involve some twists and literal wrong turns.
In an interview with C-SPAN, Sotomayor told of a long wait for the White House phone call and a difficult trip in a torrential rain, according to stories in the Washington Post, The Caucus blog of the New York Times, and The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times.
Sotomayor was told to expect a Memorial Day phone call from President Obama, so she waited by her phone starting at 8 a.m. And waited. The announcement was supposed to be the next day, but Sotomayor had not heard anything by early evening. Anxious family members were asking if they should board planes to Washington, D.C., and Sotomayor didn’t know.
At 7 p.m., Sotomayor decided she needed some answers. "I call the White House and say, 'Well you're getting my family to Washington, have any of you given any thought about how I'm going to get there?’ " Sotomayor said.
"And they stopped and said, 'Oh I guess we should figure that out, shouldn't we?' Literally, that was the response. What I was told was that the president had gotten distracted with some important other business that was going on at the time, and that he would call me at about 8 p.m. but that I should go home and pack to come to Washington, and that they would prefer that I didn't take a plane."
The call came at about 8:10 p.m., and Sotomayor asked a friend to drive her to Washington. They encountered "a torrential rain” that knocked out the GPS. "We got lost and all of a sudden I'm in Virginia” driving away from the city, she recalled. She called a law clerk from D.C., who helped navigate them back to the road and the hotel.
Sotomayor arrived at the hotel at 2:30 a.m. and got only three hours of sleep before the announcement.
Sotomayor said the president’s phone call informing her of her nomination made her catch her breath and cry.
"He asked me to make him two promises," Sotomayor said. "The first was to remain the person I was, and the second was to stay connected to my community. And I said to him that those were two easy promises to make, because those two things I could not change."