Sonia Sotomayor, the first Hispanic justice in the history of the U.S. Supreme Court, told Efe Thursday that Vice President Joe Biden's request that she administer the oath of office for his second term is an "improbable" dream and "a tribute to the Latino community."
Growing up in a poor neighborhood in The Bronx, "they both would have never entered my mind, either one would have been equally improbable," she said, laughing.
"It is a tribute to the Latino community, to how important we have grown in America that a vice president of the U.S. would think it appropriate to ask the first Hispanic justice on the Supreme Court to swear him in," Sotomayor said.
"We've come to such a great point that a girl of Puerto Rican parents can be before the country and the world administering the oath to the vice president," said Sotomayor, one of the nine justices-for-life on the high court.
Sotomayor will issue the oath to Biden next Sunday in a private ceremony and on Monday in a public ceremony before some 800,000 people at the Capitol.
The 58-year-old Sotomayor's story is one of "Yes we can" achieve the American Dream and she says it was made possible thanks to the struggle for racial integration in the United States.
In her 316-page just-released memoir "My Beloved World," Sotomayor says that she knew starting in childhood that she wanted to be a judge and that her tenacity helped her overcome the barriers of poverty and other adversity in a home with an alcoholic father and a mother who was often distant.
In her memoir, a frank and disarming account, Sotomayor speaks about her insecurities and fears, her parents' fights, her handling of her diabetes and her "extraordinary journey" to the highest court in the United States.
Although her frankness carries with it a certain amount of "vulnerability," the justice says that she wants to encourage people facing challenges to pursue their dreams.
"I do feel a very big obligation to prove myself because as I say in my book, every time one of us fails, it is looked upon as if our community fails, and so we all have an obligation to work as hard as we can to succeed and to keep the doors open for those who follow us," she says.