President Barack Obama announced his nominee to the US Supreme Court to replace Justice David Souter who announced at the start of this month that he is retiring from the Supreme Court. There was much speculation as to who Obama would select to join the court in Souter‘s place and today that announcement was made. Federal Judge Sonia Sotomayor is Obama‘s pick and if approved by the US Senate, she would be the Supreme Court’s first Hispanic Justice and the the third female Justice (after Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsberg). Here are a couple pics from the President’s announcement in the East Room of the White House earlier today:
President Obama on Tuesday nominated federal Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court. Sotomayor would be the first Hispanic and third female U.S. Supreme Court justice if confirmed. Obama announced the nomination Tuesday morning in the East Room of the White House. “Thank you, Mr. President, for the most humbling honor of my life,” Sotomayor said. “My heart is bursting with gratitude,” she said. She gave special recognition to her mother, who was sitting in the audience. “I am an ordinary person who has been blessed with extraordinary opportunities and experiences,” Sotomayor said. Obama called Sotomayor “an inspiring woman who I believe will make a great justice.” She “has worked at almost every level of our judicial system, providing her with a depth of experience and a breath of perspective that will be invaluable as a Supreme Court justice,” he added. Obama said Sotomayor “would bring more experience on the bench and more varied experience on the bench than anyone currently serving on the United States Supreme Court had when they were appointed.” The president met with Sotomayor at the White House for an hour on Thursday, according to senior administration officials. He was impressed with Sotomayor’s personal story and professional qualifications after meeting her, but he did not immediately offer her the job, two senior administration sources added. Obama made his final decision Monday, the sources said.
It was pretty much assumed by all that Obama would be selecting a woman as his nominee but there was much speculation about which woman he would pick. As a Hispanic myself, it thrills me that there is a strong possibility that Sotomayor will join the US Supreme Court. I cannot for the life of me imagine what it must be like to get the call from the President informing you that you have been selected to join the Supreme Court. I am not familiar at all with Sotomayor‘s record as a judge so I had to do some reading up on her credentials. If you, too, would like more information on Sotomayor‘s legal experience you can read more about it after the jump …
Sotomayor, a 54-year-old judge on the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, was named a U.S. District Court judge by President George H.W. Bush in 1992, and was elevated to her current seat by President Clinton. Sotomayor, who is of Puerto Rican descent, rose from humble beginnings at a housing project in the South Bronx and went on to attend Princeton University and Yale Law School. She has minimal personal assets compared with many of her judicial colleagues; a 2007 financial disclosure form showed her with a checking and savings account valued at between $50,000 and $115,000. Supporters say her appointment history, along with what they call her moderate-liberal views, would give her some bipartisan backing in the Senate. A senior White House official said that Sotomayor was “nominated by George Bush — then Bill Clinton — [and has] more judicial experience than anyone sitting on the court had at the time they were nominated.” Another senior administration official said that Obama “was looking for someone with a balance of skills: very, very smart; independent thinker; highly regarded for integrity and commitment to the law.” “He found all of those things with her, including his goal of selecting someone with the empathy factor — real world, practical experience and understanding of how the law affects real people.” But she has suffered through recent stinging criticism in the media and blogs from both the left and right over perceived — some defenders say invented — concerns about her temperament and intellect. As she has risen through the judicial ranks, Sotomayor increasingly has drawn the ire and opposition of conservatives. A majority of Republican senators opposed her elevation to the appellate court in 1998. However, an official with the Republican National Committee promised that the GOP will be equitable toward Sotomayor. “The Republicans are going to strike a tone that’s fair, that allows the vetting process to happen like it should, and that’s in stark contrast to how the Democrats dealt with Judge Roberts when you look back a couple years ago,” the official said, referring to the 2005 confirmation of Chief Justice John Roberts. Conservatives point to, among other things, her authoring of a 2008 opinion supporting the city of New Haven, Connecticut’s decision to throw out the results of a firefighter promotion exam because almost no minorities qualified for promotions. The Supreme Court heard an appeal of the case in April; a final opinion is pending. “Judge Sotomayor is a liberal judicial activist of the first order who thinks her own personal political agenda is more important that the law as written,” said Wendy Long, counsel to the conservative Judicial Confirmation Network. “She thinks that judges should dictate policy and that one’s sex, race and ethnicity ought to affect the decisions one renders from the bench. … She has an extremely high rate of her decisions being reversed, indicating that she is far more of a liberal activist than even the current liberal activist Supreme Court.” However, the senior White House official said Sotomayor has had “99 percent of her decisions” upheld by a higher court. Obama said Saturday he wants intellectual firepower and a common touch in the next Supreme Court justice and said he doesn’t “feel weighed down by having to choose … based on demographics.” Obama’s nominee will replace retiring Justice David Souter, who announced this month he would step down when the court’s current session ends this summer. There had been wide speculation that Obama would name a woman to the court, which has one female justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Interesting. There is still much more about her that I would like to read up on but she seems like an able nominee to me. I suspect that the Supreme Court nominee hearings will begin this Summer and that Sotomayor will have no problem passing muster in the Democratic controlled Senate.