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ICYMI: Sonia Sotomayor, Cory Booker, Ron Paul visit Rutgers

Spring 2016 Semester Recap

Photo by Marielle Sumergido |

February 2016 | Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) kicked off a book tour by speaking to students at Rutgers last February.

President Barack Obama’s commencement speech on May 15 will top off a year packed with campus visits by various political leaders.

Over the course of this spring semester, students were able to hear from a United States senator, a three-time presidential candidate and a Supreme Court justice, among others.

On Feb. 16, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) came to the Douglass Student Center to launch the tour of his newly released book, "United: Thoughts on Finding Common Ground and Advancing the Common Good.”

After sharing a personal anecdote to introduce his commitment to criminal justice reform, Booker spoke about the importance of bipartisanship in a polarized America. The former Newark mayor denounced the act of merely “tolerating” others and their differences, and instead, he promoted ideas of love and what he called “courageous empathy.”

Four days later, at the Feb. 20 convention hosted by the campus chapter of Young Americans for Liberty, three-time Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul spoke about why he thinks personal liberty is under attack in America.

Targets of his criticism were an “intrusive” NSA, the handling of the United State's War on Drugs, an “expanding” federal government and the economic system promoted by self-described Democratic socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

Paul also shared his thoughts on global terrorism and the feud between tech giant Apple and the FBI over the cell phone of one of the perpetrators of the shootings in San Bernardino, California, last December.

Amid nationwide discussion on the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy and President Obama’s subsequent nomination of Merrick Garland, Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor visited the Rutgers Athletic Center on April 11.

In her talk, hosted by the Eagleton Institute of Politics, the first Latina Supreme Court justice discussed her upbringing in the Bronx and aspirations as a child. Sotomayor also explained the comments she made prior to the event in which she called for more diversity on the court.

Sotomayor said it was beneficial to have judges with “varied experiences” in order to better represent a diverse America. To illustrate her point, she told the crowd about a case in which a 13-year-old girl was strip-searched.

Fellow justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg felt her male counterparts on the court were not able to relate to the girl’s emotions — an issue that a more diverse court would be better equipped to handle, Sotomayor said.

This article is part of our Spring 2016 Perspectives edition. Find the full issue here.

Camilo Montoya-Galvez is a School of Arts and Sciences first-year student majoring in Spanish and journalism and media studies. He is a correspondent for The Daily Targum. Follow him on Twitter @camiloooom.

Camilo Montoya-Galvez

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