Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor said Tuesday she was once mistaken for a drug addict when a restaurant patron spotted her in a bathroom giving herself an insulin injection.
The justice, who is diabetic, shared that memory on “Good Morning America” Tuesday, where she promoted her new book “Just Ask!: Be Different, Be Brave, Be You,” a children’s book for young people with special needs.
“At the end of our meal, I get up to walk past her and I overhear her say to her companion, ‘She’s a drug addict,'” Sotomayor said. “I turned around, and I walked back to the woman and said, ‘I’m not a drug addict. I’m a diabetic, and you saw me taking insulin, which is a drug that saves my life.'”
“Don’t presume the worst in people who do different things,” the justice added. (RELATED: ‘Someone Tried To Kill Me Today.’ Woman Recounts Harrowing Escape From Texas Shooting)
Sotomayor said that experience helped prompt the book, which encourages candid and respectful exchanges about disabilities. The justice appears in the book released Tuesday among an ensemble cast that works together to build a community garden.
Watch Justice Sotomayor’s interview on “Good Morning America”:
Doctors diagnosed Sotomayor with juvenile diabetes when she was 7 years old. She has taken daily insulin injections since then, forgoing modern developments in diabetes management like insulin pumps or continuous glucose monitors in favor of the traditional approach.
The diagnosis has not affected Sotomayor’s service on the high court, aside from isolated health scares. Paramedics treated Sotomayor for symptoms consistent with low blood sugar at her Washington, D.C., apartment in January 2018. The incident did not appear serious, however, because she reported to work in chambers that same day.
Her longtime doctor, Andrew Jay Drexler, certified in a 2009 letter that Sotomayor has effectively managed her diabetes for decades and maintained “excellent control” over her blood sugar for as long as she has been in his care.
The Supreme Court will begin hearing cases again on Oct. 7.
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