Blog Post

Sonia Sotomayor Nominated to Supreme Court

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS Staff Writer In an announcement made this morning, President Barack Obama has nominated Judge Sonia Sotomayor of New York as his pick to replace retiring justice David Souter. If confirmed, Sotomayor would be the first Hispanic to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. Sotomayor, who graduated cum laude from Princeton University and received her Juris Doctor from Yale, is said to be ideologically “tough to pigeon-hole.” Even after serving 17 years on the bench, she was never directly involved in any case where the constitutionality of a law regulating abortion was tried.   "She is liberal, as am I," said George Pavia, a New York lawyer who hired her in 1984, to the Washington Post. "Liberal without being a flaming type of do-gooder or anything of the sort. To call her a centrist would not be accurate. To call her wild-eyed would also not be accurate. She is far too rational, far too interested in the underlying facts." Sotomayor, the daughter of Puerto Rican parents, grew up in the South Bronx. Her father died a year after she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of eight. Her mother, a nurse, raised Sonia and her brother, instilling in them a strong work ethic and the importance of education. Although her biography makes it unclear if she is a Catholic, she did attend Catholic schools until college where she graduated cum laude from Princeton and went on to get her law degree from Yale. Divorced as a young woman, she never remarried or had children. She was nominated to be a judge on the U.S. District Court for Manhattan's Southern District by President George H.W. Bush in 1991 and became the first Hispanic federal judge in New York. On the court, her most memorable decision was ending the 1994 Major League Baseball strike in a decision that sided with the players against the owners. President Bill Clinton nominated her to the appeals court in 1997, but several Republican senators blocked her nomination for more than a year. She was confirmed by a vote of 67 to 29, with most Democrats and half the Republicans voting for her. Many legal analysts believe Sotomayor will be a solid vote for the high Court’s liberal wing but not everyone thinks she’s the perfect choice for a swing vote. Hard-core liberals want a judicial star with a high intellectual caliber who has the potential to change the direction of the court. Although a capable jurist, Sotomayor is not considered to be of this caliber. Her confirmation may not be smooth. If she is a Catholic, people concerned about a sixth Catholic Supreme Court Justice are expected to protest. Sotomayor has also caused concern by comments she made about how the "court of appeals is where policy is made". Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) has already said those comments would be a "problem" for her if she were nominated.   “She would have, I think, a more difficult time if she was nominated because of statements like that," Sen. Hatch told Fox News. "And, of course, she has a whole raft of opinions that I think would have to be scrutinized very carefully.”  The president made his decision at Camp David over the Memorial Day weekend and notified his staff this morning. He would like the nomination to be confirmed before Congress leaves for summer break. © All Rights Reserved, Living His Life Abundantly/Women of Grace.