Wednesday, February 28, 2024

First Latina Supreme Court Justice Confirmed

Today, the United States Senate confirmed the first Latina, Judge Sonia Sotomayor, to the highest court in the land by a vote of 68-31. This historic confirmation will make her the 111th justice to serve on the Supreme Court and only the third woman to do so.

Nine Republicans joined the unanimous Democratic caucus to vote in favor of her nomination.

Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, opened the final day of debate speaking out against Republicans who were opposing Sotomayor by saying, “These critics have … chosen to ignore her extensive record of judicial modesty and restraint, a record made over 17 years on the federal bench. Instead they focused on and mischaracterized her rulings in just a handful of her more than 3,600 cases.”

Sotomayor has been praised for her inspiring life story, being born into poverty as the daughter of parents from Puerto Rico and graduating from two of the most prestigious universities in the nation. Senator Joe Lieberman, an independent who voted for Sotomayor, said, “Another barrier has been broken in American life.”

In replacing retired moderate Justice David Souter, Sotomayor is not expected to change the court’s ideological balance. The official swearing in will take place Saturday morning at 11:00 am EST.