On the night of May 26th, 2009, Sonia Sotomayor was waiting at her office in New York for a call from the President. He did call (eventually), but he very nearly forgot.

In an interview that makes her sound extremely likable and charmingly humble, Sotomayor tells C-Span about the bizarre experience of waiting around for Obama to call. She says that her family had boarded planes to Washington before she got the final answer from Obama. She had been told Obama would be making the call that day, but at 5:00 p.m. Obama still hadn't called. Her family was anxious, so she told them to go on ahead.

Sick of waiting, Sotomayor called up the White House and asked, "Well you're getting my family to Washington, have any of you given any thought about how I'm going to get there? And:

"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 Washington Post notes that the other business Obama was busy with his Memorial Day appearences and North Korea's decision to detonate a nuclear device, so we suppose he has a good excuse. But in a strange way, the rest of the story sounds kind of like a particularly nerve-wracking first date. Sotomayor recalls holding her hand over her chest, "trying to calm my beating heart, literally," right before she got the call. And once she did? She admits to breaking down in tears: "And I said to him — I caught my breath and started to cry and said, 'Thank you, Mr. President.' That was what the moment was like." We can only imagine.


Sotomayor Describes Day Of Supreme Court Selection For C-Span [Washington Post]