Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Honorable Judge Sonia Sotomayor

Born June 25, 1954 in New York, Sonia Sotomayor has traveled far beyond the Bronx projects where she grew up to become the first Puerto Rican woman to serve as a U.S. Circuit Court judge.
Urged by a high school friend to attend an Ivy League college, Judge Sotomayor enrolled at Princeton University, finding it a “very foreign experience for someone from the South Bronx.” She refers to her years there as “the single most growing event of my life” and succeeded in graduating summa cum laude in 1976. She went on to Yale Law School where she was the editor of the law journal and received her J.D. degree in 1979.
Sotomayor is a first generation American born to parents who were both from Puerto Rico
Nominated by President George Bush in November 1991, she was confirmed on August 11, 1992 by the U.S. Senate to serve as a federal judge for the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York. Only six years later, she was nominated by President William Clinton to serve as an appellate judge and she was confirmed by the Senate on October 2, 1998 to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
She is a member of the American Bar Association, the New York Women’s Bar Association, the Puerto Rican Bar Association, the Hispanic National Bar Association, the Association of Judges of Hispanic Heritage, and the National Council of La Raza. She has received many honors including, most recently, an award from the National Association of Women Lawyers.
Sotomayor became the center of controversy in 1997 when President Clinton announced her nomination for the Court of Appeals. Labeling her a “liberal” and “activist judge,” Republican Party forces tried to block her candidacy amid speculation she was in line to be the first Hispanic nominated to the Supreme Court. (Her name was in fact raised again by Senate Democrats in 2005 as a possible replacement for retiring Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.)
    Judge Sonia Sotomayors' Rulings

In her rulings, Sotomayor has often shown suspicion of bloated government and corporate power. She's offered a reinterpretation of copyright law, ruled in favor of public access to private information, and in her most famous decision, sided with labor in the Major League Baseball strike of 1995. More than anything else, she is seen as a realist. With a likely 20 years ahead on the bench, she'll have plenty of time to impart her realist philosophy.

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