NAACP Calls for Expeditious Confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor for Associate Justice to the U.S. Supreme Court


The Issue:
On Monday, May 26, 2009, President Barack Obama nominated Judge Sonia Sotomayor to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court; specifically, she will replace Justice David Souter, who has announced his plans to retire.

Sonia Sotomayor is an excellent choice.  The daughter of immigrant parents (her father, a tool-and-die worker with a third grade education, died when she was nine years old; her mother, a nurse, raised Judge Sotomayor and her brother on a very modest salary), she grew up in the housing projects in the Bronx.  She went on to graduate from Princeton University summa cum laude in 1976, and then from Yale Law School (where she was the editor of the law journal) in 1979. 

After law school she got a job as an assistant district attorney in New York City, where she prosecuted cases involving police brutality, murder, child pornography and assaults.  After a time in private practice, she was nominated in 1991 by President George H. Bush to serve as a federal judge for the U.S. District Court, southern District of New York.  Six years later, she was nominated by President Bill Clinton to serve as an appellate judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, where she has served since 1998.  She has been a prosecutor, private litigator, trial judge, and appellate judge.  No one currently on the Court has that complete package of experience.  If confirmed for the Supreme Court, Judge 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.  She has been a big-city prosecutor and a corporate litigator, a federal trial judge on the U.S. District Court, and an appellate judge on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.  

A thorough review of Judge Sotomayor’s record shows that she is an intelligent jurist with mainstream values and an even temperament.  Her 17 years on the federal bench show that she takes an impartial and balanced approach to the cases before her, and that she is above all fair. 

Hearings on Judge Sotomayor’s nomination are expected to be held in the Senate Judiciary Committee in mid-June; a vote on her confirmation will hopefully take place in July, prior to Congress leaving town for their August state work period.  This will allow Judge Sotomayor to begin her service on the Supreme Court when it convenes in October for its new session.

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