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Sonia Sotomayor, one of Barack Obama ‘s appointees to the high court, describes in a new memoir how her husband presented her with a bag of Quaaludes, a popular 1970s drug sometimes known as “disco biscuits”.Friends of the groom had given him the pills, known to heighten sexual sensitivity, as a joke, but his new wife — then a Yale Law student — apparently insisted that he get rid of them.
The episode is one detail in the long and colourful story of Justice Sotomayor’s rise from an impoverished neighbourhood in the Bronx to becoming America’s first Hispanic Supreme Court justice.
In the autobiography, titled “My Beloved World,” the 58-year-old describes how her Puerto Rican parents never had a bank account and how she did not learn to speak English fluently until she was nine.
She writes of a cousin who died of AIDS contracted from a dirty heroin needle, and how she once unwittingly drove him to a drug den in New York, jeopardizing her own career as a prosecutor.
Like Mr Obama, she is a former smoker and at one point was getting through 70 cigarettes a day.
Unlike the President, who spent months trying to wean himself off cigarettes after entering the White House, Justice Sotomayor says she quit after a five-day programme and has never lit up since.
She and Kevin Noonan divorced amicably after seven years of marriage, and he confirmed the drugs episode to New York Magazine.
“It was a long time ago, and a funny story. For the record, neither one of us used Quaaludes,” he said.
The justice never remarried and has no children, a decision she said was partly motivated out of fear that she would die early because of her diabetes.
The book focuses on her early life and does not contain details of her three years on the bench in Washington, nor of the dramatic moment when the court upheld Mr Obama’s healthcare reforms earlier this year.
Justice Sotomayor and her eight fellow justices will rule later this year on gay marriage and could potentially force all 50 states to allow people of the same sex to marry.