One woman has made the U.S. Hispanic population proud today. Sonia Sotomayor has been nominated as a Justice in the U.S. Supreme Court by President Obama.
Sotomayor has been often mentioned as a candidate for the Supreme Court position, replacing the retiring Justice David Souter. Sotomayor is not likely to change the ideological balance of the bench but she will add a great deal of diversity. The Supreme Court will consist of two women, with Sotomayor being only the third woman to sit on the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court members will include eight whites and one african american.
Sotomayor’s journey to the Supreme Court is also certain to add to the diversity she brings to the bench. Sotomayor was the daughter of working class parents in the Bronx Her father, who didnt speak english and only had a third grade education, died when she was nine. Her mother then worked six days a week to support them. Sotomayor worked hard throughout school and on a scholarship to Princeton and the went on to Yale to study Law. She became a prosecutor in New York, then a corporate litigator, before being seated to a federal trial court by the first President Bush. Six years later, President Clinton elevated her to a New York-based appeals court. Her rise through adversity would seem to be one that rivals Obama’s on rise to power.
While Sotomayors time in the judiciary has mostly concerned routine matters it has not been without controversy. The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), among other groups, called her an “activist” judge. One of her more controversial votes as a judge was one endorsing a Connecticut city’s decision to discard the results of a firefighter promotion test because blacks and Hispanics scored disproportionately lower than whites. The case is now before the Supreme Court.
Sotomayor will not be shy about countering such criticism. She said she decides cases based on the law, without an agenda in mind. “I firmly believe in the rule of law,” she said.
While Democratic members of the Senate back her nomination republican members say they will need some time to review her 17 year record.