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Snap Fact #112

President Obama Brought Genuine Diversity To The Supreme Court With A High Quality Appointment! 
In 2009, President Obama nominated Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. She is the first Hispanic U.S. Supreme Court Justice and the third woman to serve on the high court. Ms. Sotomayor rose from the humble beginnings of a Puerto Rican child born in a housing project in the South Bronx. Her brilliant mind earned her admittance to Princeton and then on to Yale Law School. Her subsequent judicial career proved her capability as an outstanding legal mind and constitutional jurist.

The White House press secretary gave the following thumbnail of Ms. Sotomayor upon her nomination to the supreme Court. "Sonia Sotomayor has served as a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit since October 1998. She has been hailed as "one of the ablest federal judges currently sitting" for her thoughtful opinions, and as "a role model of aspiration, discipline, commitment, intellectual prowess and integrity" "Her American story and three decade career in nearly every aspect of the law provide Judge Sotomayor with unique qualifications to be the next Supreme Court Justice. She is a distinguished graduate of two of America's leading universities. She has been a big-city prosecutor and a corporate litigator. Before she was promoted to the Second Circuit by President Clinton, she was appointed to the District Court for the Southern District of New York by President George H.W. Bush. She replaces Justice Souter as the only Justice with experience as a trial judge. Judge Sotomayor served 11 years on the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, one of the most demanding circuits in the country, and has handed down decisions on a range of complex legal and constitutional issues. If confirmed, Sotomayor would bring more federal judicial experience to the Supreme Court than any justice in 100 years, and more overall judicial experience than anyone confirmed for the Court in the past 70 years. 
Judge Richard C. Wesley, a George W. Bush appointee to the Second Circuit, said "Sonia is an outstanding colleague with a keen legal mind. She brings a wealth of knowledge and hard work to all her endeavors on our court. It is both a pleasure and an honor to serve with her."

Even the conservative Wall Street Journal sung the judge's praises upon her nomination as they wrote, "Over a distinguished career that spans three decades, Judge Sotomayor has worked at almost every level of our judicial system – yielding a depth of experience and a breadth of perspectives that will be invaluable – and is currently not represented -- on our highest court. New York City District Attorney Morgenthau recently praised Sotomayor as an "able champion of the law" who would be "highly qualified for any position in which wisdom, intelligence, collegiality and good character could be assets." [Wall Street Journal, 5/9/09]

President Obama "was looking for someone with a balance of skills: very, very smart; independent thinker; highly regarded for integrity and commitment to the law," another senior administration official confirmed her record of adherence to the Constitution without the burden of a preconceived political agenda by noting that, "She was appointed to the federal district bench in New York by George H.W. Bush, and President Clinton appointed her to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 1998."

On August 6, 2009 Judge Sonia Sotomayor was confirmed as Supreme Court Justice by a 68-31 Senate vote that ran largely on party lines although a handful of Republican senators had the good judgment to vote for her. President Obama had again had made a thoughtful decision after due deliberation to select the best choice for the task at hand.