Sonia Sotomayor

U.S. Supreme Court Justice / Jurist

Born: 25 June 1954
Birthplace: The Bronx, New York
Best known as:

The first Latina justice on the U.S. Supreme Court

Judge Sonia Sotomayor is the first Latina to sit on the United States Supreme Court. She was a judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit when President Barack Obama picked her to replace retired justice David Souter on the U.S. Supreme Court in 2009. Of Puerto Rican descent, she was raised in a housing project in The Bronx, New York by her widowed mother. Sotomayor graduated with honors from Princeton (1976) and got her law degree from Yale (1979), then served as an assistant district attorney in the New York County District Attorney's Office from 1979 until 1984. That year she went into in private practice as a litigator, continuing until 1991, when she was nominated to the U.S. District Court by President George H.W. Bush. She was confirmed in 1992. President Bill Clinton nominated her for the U.S. Court of Appeals in June of 1997, but she was not confirmed until October of the following year. Her years on the bench have not been particularly controversial or newsworthy, but Sotomayor is considered left-of-center by Republican critics and faced accusations of racism at her confirmation hearings in July of 2009. She was confirmed as a Supreme Court justice on 6 August 2009, by a Senate vote of 68-31.

Extra credit:

Sotomayor has diabetes, an illness she discovered when she was eight years old... Her father died when she was nine... Sotomayor has also served as an adjunct professor at New York University's law school (1998-2007) and a lecturer at Columbia Law School (1999-present)... She ended a major league baseball strike in 1995 when, as a judge, she sided with the players over the owners in a labor dispute.

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