District Court Judge in and was elevated to the U. Second Circuit Court of Appeals in In , she was confirmed as the first Latina Supreme Court justice in U. Sotomayor's family functioned on a very modest income; her mother was a nurse at a methadone clinic, and her father was a tool-and-die worker. Sotomayor's first leanings toward the justice system began after watching an episode of the television show Perry Mason.
Who Is Sonia Sotomayor?
When a prosecutor on the program said he did not mind losing when a defendant turned out to be innocent, Sotomayor later said to The New York Times that she "made the quantum leap: If that was the prosecutor's job, then the guy who made the decision to dismiss the case was the judge. That was what I was going to be.
When her husband died in , Celina worked hard to raise her children as a single parent. She placed what Sotomayor would later call an "almost fanatical emphasis" on a higher education, pushing the children to become fluent in English and making huge sacrifices to purchase a set of encyclopedias that would give them proper research materials for school.
The young Latina woman felt overwhelmed by her new school; after she received low marks on first mid-term paper, she sought help, taking more English and writing classes. The groups, she said, provided her "with an anchor I needed to ground myself in that new and different world. All of Sotomayor's hard work paid off when she graduated summa cum laude from Princeton in She was also awarded the Pyne Prize, which is the highest academic award given to Princeton undergraduates.
She received her J. Sotomayor was responsible for prosecuting robbery, assault, murder, police brutality and child pornography cases. She moved from associate to partner at the firm in Sotomayor's pro bono work at these agencies caught the attention of Senators Ted Kennedy and Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who were partially responsible for her appointment as U.
President George H. Bush nominated her for the position in , which was confirmed unanimously by the Senate on August 11, When she joined the court, she was its youngest judge. On her 43rd birthday, June 25, , she was nominated for the U. She was confirmed by the Senate that October. She has also received honorary law degrees from Herbert H. And she served on the Board of Trustees at Princeton.
The nomination was confirmed by the U.
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In June , Sotomayor was among the majority in two landmark Supreme Court rulings: On June 25, she was one of the six justices to uphold a critical component of the Affordable Care Act—often referred to as Obamacare—in King v. The decision allows the federal government to continue providing subsidies to Americans who purchase health care through "exchanges," regardless of whether they are state or federally operated. Sotomayor is credited as a key force in the ruling, having presented cautionary arguments against the potential dismantling of the law.
Some details from the anti-abortion site LifeNews. Sotomayor participated in a decision concerning the Mexico City Policy, which President Obama recently overturned and which prohibits sending taxpayer dollars to groups that promote and perform abortions in other nations. Writing for the Second Circuit, Judge Sotomayor upheld the Mexico City Policy, but AUL says the significance of the decision "may be minimal because the issue was largely controlled by the Second Circuit's earlier opinion in a similar challenge to the policy. AUL notes that Judge Sotomayor also upheld the pro-life policy by rejecting claims from a pro-abortion legal group that it violated the Equal Protection Clause.
That said, pro-choice groups hailed her nomination, with Planned Parenthood declaring that she "understands the importance of ensuring that our Supreme Court justices respect precedent while also protecting our civil liberties. Sotomayor has also not ruled on any cases involving gay civil rights, but gay legal activists described her positively :. Long-time gay legal activist Paula Ettelbrick said she met Sotomayor in about when they both served on then-New York Governor Mario Cuomo's advisory committee on fighting bias. She was totally interested [in gay civil rights issues] and supportive.
In choosing Judge Sotomayor, the first Latino candidate for the Supreme Court, President Obama has made a strong and appealing nomination that should and will receive the supportof those committed to equality for lesbians and gay men. Tom Goldstein notes :. To Hispanics, the nomination would be an absolutely historic landmark. It really is impossible to overstate its significance. The achievement of a lifetime appointment at the absolute highest levels of the government is a profound event for that community, which in turn is a vital electoral group now and in the future.
She ended a long baseball strike that year, briskly ruling against the owners in favor of the players. The owners were trying to subvert the labor system, she said, and the strike had "placed the entire concept of collective bargaining on trial. The Chicago Sun-Times said she "delivered a wicked fastball" to baseball owners and emerged as one of the most inspiring figures in the history of the sport.
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I'm not promoting it. I'm not advocating it. But as legal scholars have noted, Sotomayor's statement is entirely factual :. You can, on one hand, say Congress makes the law and the court interprets it. But on the other hand the law is not always clear. And in clarifying those laws, the courts make policy. Eric Freedman, a law professor at Hofstra University, was equally dismissive of this emerging conservative talking point.
It is not a controversial proposition at all that the overwhelming quantity of law making work in the federal system is done by the court of appeals It is thoroughly uncontroversial to anyone other than a determined demagogue.
Indeed, during her confirmation hearing, Sotomayor spoke of her judicial philosophy, saying "I don't believe we should bend the Constitution under any circumstance. It says what it says. We should do honor to it. Do you have information you want to share with HuffPost? Tap here to turn on desktop notifications to get the news sent straight to you.
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