Sonia Sotomayor

Infobox Judge
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name = Sonia Sotomayor
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office = Associate Judge of the Court of Appeals, 2nd Circuit
term_start = October 7, 1998
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nominator = Bill Clinton
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predecessor = J. Daniel Mahoney
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birth_date = birth date and age|1954|6|25
birth_place = The Bronx, New York
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nationality = flag|United States
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alma_mater = Princeton University
Yale University
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Sonia Sotomayor (born June 25, 1954 in The Bronx, New York) is a judge on the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Early life and family

Of Puerto Rican descent, Sotomayor grew up in the South Bronx. [cite web |title=Sonia Sotomayor (ABA Profile, National Hispanic Heritage Month 2000) |url=] She was diagnosed with diabetes at age 8. [cite news |first=James C. |last=McKinley |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=Woman in the News; Strike-Zone Arbitrator — Sonia Sotomayor |url= |work=New York Times |publisher= |date=1995-04-01 |accessdate= ] Her father, a tool-and-dye worker with a third-grade education, died the following year. [cite news |first=Jan |last=Hoffman |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=A Breakthrough Judge: What She Always Wanted |url= |work=New York Times |publisher= |date=1992-09-25 |accessdate= ] Her mother, a nurse, raised Sotomayor and her younger brother, who is now a doctor, on a modest salary. Sotomayor married while still a student at Princeton University in 1976, and divorced in 1983. [cite news |first=James C. |last=McKinley |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=Woman in the News; Strike-Zone Arbitrator — Sonia Sotomayor |url= |work=New York Times |publisher= |date=1995-04-01 |accessdate= ]

Education and legal training

After graduating with a B.A. from Princeton University summa cum laude in 1976, Sotomayor obtained her J.D. from Yale Law School in 1979, where she was an editor of the Yale Law Journal. Sotomayor then served as an Assistant District Attorney under prominent New York County District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, prosecuting robberies, assaults, murders, police brutality, and child pornography cases. In 1984, she entered private practice, making partner at the commercial litigation firm of Pavia & Harcourt, where she specialized in intellectual property litigation. [cite news |first=Jan |last=Hoffman |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=A Breakthrough Judge: What She Always Wanted |url= |work=New York Times |publisher= |date=1992-09-25 |accessdate= ] [cite web |title=Sonia Sotomayor (ABA Profile, National Hispanic Heritage Month 2000) |url=]

Federal judicial service

A political centrist, [cite news |first=Jan |last=Hoffman |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=A Breakthrough Judge: What She Always Wanted |url= |work=New York Times |publisher= |date=1992-09-25 |accessdate= ] [cite news |first=James C. |last=McKinley |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=Woman in the News; Strike-Zone Arbitrator — Sonia Sotomayor |url= |work=New York Times |publisher= |date=1995-04-01 |accessdate= ] Sotomayor was nominated on November 27, 1991, by President George H. W. Bush to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York vacated by John M. Walker, Jr. (the president's cousin). She became the first Hispanic federal judge in New York State. [cite news |first=Wayne |last=King |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=Hispanic Nominee for U.S. Bench |url= |work=New York Times |publisher= |date=1991-03-02 |accessdate= ]

Her nomination was part of a package deal arranged between the Republican president and the two U.S. Senators from New York at that time, Democrat Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Republican Alphonse D'Amato, in order to facilitate the processing of other Bush judicial nominees. In the deal, Moynihan reportedly named one of every four district court nominees from New York. Sotomayor was one of Moynihan's choices [cite blog |title=Shorter Bench |url= |work="National Review Online blog"] . She was confirmed by the United States Senate on August 11, 1992, and received her commission the next day.

On March 30, 1995, she issued the preliminary injunction against Major League Baseball, preventing MLB from unilaterally implementing a new Collective Bargaining Agreement and using replacement players, thus ending the 1994 baseball strike.

In another high-profile case, she issued an order allowing the Wall Street Journal to publish Vince Foster's suicide note. [cite magazine |title=100 Most Influential Hispanics |url= |work=Hispanic Business |month=October | year=2005 |page=74|format=PDF]

Confirmation as Court of Appeals Judge

On June 25, 1997, she was nominated by President Bill Clinton to the seat she now holds, which was vacated by J. Daniel Mahoney.

Her nomination was approved overwhelmingly by the Senate Judiciary Committee, but became "embroiled in the sometimes tortured judicial politics of the Senate," as some Republicans said they did not want to consider the nomination because elevating Sotomayor to the Appeals Court would enhance her prospects of being appointed to the Supreme Court. [cite news |first=Neil A. |last=Lewis |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=After Delay, Senate Approves Judge for Court in New York |url= |work=New York Times |publisher= |date=1998-10-03 |accessdate= ] .

Certain conservative media outlets and organizations, such as the "Wall Street Journal" called her a "liberal"; the Free Congress Foundation, a right-wing think tank active in judicial nomination battles of the 1990s, called her a "judicial activist." [ cite web |title= |url=] . A senator put an anoymous hold on her nomination, blocking it for over a year. Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy called the length of the hold "disturbing", "petty," and "shameful," also noting that at that time, "Of the 10 judicial nominees whose nominations have been pending the longest before the Senate, eight are women and racial or ethnic minority candidates." [cite web |title=Delays in Senate Action on Judicial Nominations |date=1998-06-18 |url=]

After her nomination had been pending for more than a year, then-Majority Leader Trent Lott scheduled a vote on her nomination with little advance notice, angering conservatives who saw Lott as clearing a path for her confirmation and being too accommodating to Clinton. However, many Republicans, including Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, voted for Sotomayor's confirmation to the Second Circuit. [cite news |first=Neil A. |last=Lewis |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=After Delay, Senate Approves Judge for Court in New York |url= |work=New York Times |publisher= |date=1998-10-03 |accessdate= ] With solid Democratic support, and Republicans divided roughly equally, she was confirmed on October 2, 1998 in a 67-29 vote, and she received commission on October 7.

Awards and honors

Judge Sotomayor has received honorary degrees from Lehman College, Princeton University, Brooklyn Law School, Pace University School of Law, and Hofstra University. [cite web |title=Outstanding Latino Professional Award Recipient, 2006, Judge Sotomayor |url=]

Other Activities

She has been an Adjunct Professor at New York University School of Law since 1998 and a lecturer-in-law at Columbia Law School since 1999.

She is a member of the Board of Trustees of Princeton University.

Possible nomination to the Supreme Court

In July 2005, a number of Senate Democrats suggested Sotomayor, among others, to President George W. Bush as a nominee acceptable to them to fill the seat of retiring Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. The suggestion was criticized by John Lott and Sonia D. Jones in the conservative magazine "National Review" as being in "bad faith", because it allegedly reflected a lack of effort on the part of the Democrats to suggest nominees whom Bush would ideologically support. [cite news |first=John R., Jr. |last=Lott |authorlink= |coauthors=Jones, Sonya D. |title=Unserious Suggestions: Silly Democratic consultations |url= |work=National Review |publisher= |date=2005-07-19 |accessdate= ] The seat was eventually filled by a well-known conservative jurist, Judge Samuel A. Alito, Jr. of the Third Circuit.

With three justices considering retirement (Ginsburg, Stevens, Souter), it is speculated that Sotomayor could be a leading candidate for the next open Supreme Court seat should Barack Obama win the 2008 presidential election. [cite news |first= |last= |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=Obama court pick could be Granholm |url= |work=Washington Post |publisher= |date=2008-10-07 |accessdate= ] Sotomayor would be the first Hispanic justice.

ee also

*List of famous Puerto Ricans
*George W. Bush Supreme Court candidates


External links

* [ Judges of the United States Courts] Biographical information.
* [ Extended Biography]
* [ ABA Profile, National Hispanic Heritage Month 2000]
* [ Cabranes, Sotomayor On Kerry’s A-List]
* [ "Senate confirms Sotomayor as 2nd Circuit Judge"] Critical piece in Human Events.
* [ Unserious Suggestions] Critical piece in National Review.

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