Judge Sonia Sotomayor is the Supreme Court Nominee
Breaking News: President Obama has chosen federal Judge Sonia Sotomayor from New York, as his nominee for the United States Supreme Court on Tuesday, May 26.
President Barack Obama called Judge Sonia Sotomayor at 9 PM on Memorial Day to say she was his pick for the Supreme Court.
President Obama has used a propitious opportunity to burnish his legacy with this historic nomination.
The Supreme Court Justice is a uniquely lifetime appointment conferred by the United States Constitution to insure the independence of the Supreme Court from Presidential and Congressional influences. Once the confirmation is made, the President no longer has the power to remove the Justices. Congress can try to impeach a Justice through a complicated and long process. The last time such impeachment attempt was made in 1804 and it failed.
Ms. Sotomayor is the first Latina and third female U.S. Supreme Court justice, if she is confirmed. Judge Sotomayor has more diverse experience than any other previous Supreme Court nominees at the time of their nominations.
Judge Sotomayor has a compelling personal story for having grown up in the housing project in the South Bronx, New York. She grew up in the housing project along Bruckner Expressway, along Rosedale Avenue, and a train ride to the Yankee Stadium, both old and new.
Ms. Sotomayor attended and graduated from Princeton and Yale law school on scholarships. In her acceptance speech, Ms. Sotomayor pointed out her background in working as a corporate lawyer, prosecutor, private practice lawyer, and judge.
She said, "I am humbled by President Obama's decision to nominate me to the highest court of the nation." Ms. Sotomayor credited her mother, Celina Sotomayor, a single parent for raising her brother, Juan Sotomayor, a physician, and her by working at two jobs.
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.
The conservative community has already criticized Judge Sotomayor for some of her more controversial statements and the recent decision on the firefighters in Connecticut.
"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."
Her supporters said that she is a moderate and has been previously nominated by President George H. W. Bush, which would give her some bipartisan backing in the Senate. She is a known moderate and well respected by both Republicans and Democrats who work with her in the state of New York.
From the Manhattan District Attorney, Robert M. Morgenthau:
President Obama has made an outstanding choice in selecting Judge Sonia Sotomayor to serve on the United States Supreme Court.
From the New York State Attorney General, Andrew M. Cuomo:
Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s journey from the Bronx to Supreme Court nominee is a true New York success story. She is a distinguished and thoughtful voice whose years of judicial expertise will be pivotal as the Supreme Court tackles historic issues vital to all Americans. Just as Justices Marshall and O’Connor broke down centuries-old barriers, Judge Sotomayor is a trailblazer whose accomplishments will serve as an inspiration for women, minorities and all New Yorkers.
According to her previous law clerk, Judge Sotomayor is personable and accessible although she is also has high expectations of her clerks.
Robyn Kar, who clerked for Sotomayor from 1998 to 1999, described her as a "warm, extraordinarily kind and caring person."
"She has an amazing story, but she's also just an amazing person," he said, adding that she has a knack for getting to know those around her. "She was the judge who, in the courthouse for example, knew all of the doormen, knew the cafeteria workers, who knew the janitors -- she didn't just know all of the other judges and the politicians. She really went out of her way to get to know everyone and was well loved by everyone."
It was Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) who submitted her name to President Obama for consideration.
More to follow as the story develops.
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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States