Sotomayor’s staff suggested selling books at all events, including a graduation commencement at UC-Davis!
BuT cLaReNcE tHoMaS!
The Associated Press reported that Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s staff pushed colleges and libraries who have hosted her to buy her books.
Sotomayor earned $3.7 million since 2009, when she joined the SCOTUS. Sotomayor’s salary is $285,400 a year.
The AP mentioned how Sotomayer’s events have been kept “largely out of public view.” But man, we know everything about Justice Clarence Thomas!
The AP also seems shocked “that the justices’ conduct spans their conservative-liberal split.”
NO. WAY. That’s impossible. Only conservatives and those on the right are greedy and unethical!
I hope this story gains traction:
In her case, the documents reveal repeated examples of taxpayer-funded court staff performing tasks for the justice’s book ventures, which workers in other branches of government are barred from doing. But when it comes to promoting her literary career, Sotomayor is free to do what other government officials cannot because the Supreme Court does not have a formal code of conduct, leaving the nine justices to largely write and enforce their own rules.
“This is one of the most basic tenets of ethics laws that protects taxpayer dollars from misuse,” said Kedric Payne, a former deputy chief counsel at the Office of Congressional Ethics and current general counsel for the Campaign Legal Center, a nonpartisan government watchdog group in Washington. “The problem at the Supreme Court is there’s no one there to say whether this is wrong.”
In 2019, library and community colleges in Portland, OR, asked Sotomayor to host an event for her children’s book Just Ask!
Those at the institutions worked hard to prepare for the event. The AP noted the people worked “long hours and accommodated the shifting requests of Sotomayor’s court staff.”
But then the staff emailed the institutions about the lack of book purchases.
Anh Lee, an assistant for Sotomayor, told Lyndsey Runyan of the Multnomah County Library that they need to order more than 250 copies of the book for an event with 1,000 people.
“Families purchase multiples and people will be upset if they are unable to get in line because the book required is sold out,” wrote Le.
Runyan told Le to work with the people at Penguin:
“Can you please show me the screen where people can purchase books?” Le wrote library staffers as they prepared to make the tickets available. “Are you just placing Just Ask … on the portal or all of the Justice’s books.”
When the free tickets were quickly snapped up, she asked library officials to publicize that those who could not get tickets could still meet the justice if they purchased a book.
“Please also let them know that they can attend the signing line to meet the Justice even if they are not able to attend the event,” Le wrote in an Aug. 26, 2019, email.
A day later, she followed with another email, concerned that not enough of the people who got tickets had also purchased a book. Records indicate that the roughly 550 free tickets made available to the public (the rest were reserved for VIP guests) resulted in the advance purchase of only 28 books.
“Is there a reminder going out that people need to purchase a book at the event or bring a book to get into the signing line?” Le wrote. “Most of the registrants did not purchase books.”
Then there’s the cost of the event. Portland Community College offered $1,000 to host the event, while the library offered another $1,500.
The costs eventually rose to over $20,000.
Le, who graduated from the college, micromanaged the event, according to the emails. She wanted the largest venue and even approved the TV angles used during the event.
Even without events, the staff pushed for books:
As Sotomayor prepared for commencement weekend at the University of California, Davis law school, her staff pitched officials there on buying copies of signed books in connection with the event. Before a visit to the University of Wisconsin, the staff suggested a book signing.
Aaron Tang seemed to enthusiastically agree with Anh that there would be an interest in ordering Sotomayor’s book at the event.
Yes, Le suggested a table to sell books at the commencement. She also casually mentioned Sotomayor was signing 11,000 for one school at the time.
One UC-Davis law school official didn’t like the idea. Kelley Weis wrote to the dean:
I’m not sure this is a good idea, have we ever allowed other speakers to sell or offer their books (that we have purchased for guests)?
“I think we could definitely give signed copies to our VIP guests. And potentially have a table of books if we do a private event with students, donors, etc at King Hall.
Since this is a commencement address and not a speaking event, I think having a table of her books could be out of place.
The dean thought, “it would be okay.” Weiss responded, “No need to check around – if it’s ok by you and a Supreme Court Justice I think we’re covered!”
UC-Davis only ordered 410 signed copies of Sotomayor’s memoir, costing $6,500. Sotomayor had to cancel after she fell and fractured her shoulder.
UC-Davis requested a refund. Le asked for final confirmation about the cancellation. It eventually took place.
Michigan State University bought the 11,000 books Le mentioned in her email to UC-David. It paid over $100,000 for Sotomayor’s memoir My Beloved World. The school sent copies to Sotomayor to sign for incoming first-year students.
In 2017, Sotomayor planned a visit to Clemson University. The school offered to purchase 60 signed copies of her book.
“60 books to sign is no problem, as most institutions order in the ranges of 400 and up,” wrote an assistant.
Totally just a casual mention of other schools buying at least 400. No biggie.
The University at Albany in New York purchased 3,700 books. Stony Brook University in New York bought 3,900 in 2019 for a first-year reading program.
Penguin Random House publishes Sotomayor’s books and helps organize the events. SCOTUS has heard many cases involving the publisher, but she has never recused herself from the cases.
SCOTUS told the AP: “Justice Sotomayor would have recused in cases in which Penguin Random House was a party, in light of her close and ongoing relationship with the publisher. An inadvertent omission failed to bring Penguin’s participation in several cases to her attention; those cases ultimately were not selected for review by the Court. Chambers’ conflict check procedures have since been changed.”
A person close to Sotomayor insisted she “has not and will not profit from” her memoir sales beyond the $3.1 million advance the publisher gave her. To get a profit, the person said, “purchases of hundreds of thousands of additional books — more than double the purchases to date” would have to happen.
The AP mentioned that Sotomayor had earned at least $400,000 in royalties since 2019 for her book Just Ask!
I’m shaking my head.
I doubt any of this, unless you’re Clarence Thomas, gets a lot of attention.DONATE
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