Sonia Sotomayor first Hispanic nominated for Supreme Court role

May 26th, 2009 - 9:37 pm ICT by John Le Fevre  

Sonia Sotomayor US President Barack Obama has appointed circuit judge Sonia Sotomayor to serve on the supreme court. If approved by the US Senate she will become the first Hispanic person to wear the robes of a US justice.

Sotomayor, aged 54, will succeed the retiring justice David Souter and began her legal career as an assistant district attorney in New York, before serving as a judge in the US district court the southern district of New York, before joining the US court of appeals second circuit in 1998.

Obama has said publicly he wants a justice who combines intellect and empathy: someone able to understand the troubles of ordinary Americans.

The Democrats hold a majority in the Senate and barring anything unexpected, Sotomayor’s confirmation should be approved, seeing her join Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as the second woman on the supreme court.

Administration officials have said Sotomayor would bring more judicial experience to the supreme court than any justice confirmed in the past 70 years.

In one of Sotomayor’s most notable and controversial decisions as an appellate judge, she sided last year with the city of New Haven, Conn., in a discrimination case brought by white firefighters.

The city threw out results of a promotion exam because too few minorities scored high enough, resulting a discrimination claim filed by non-minority firefighters. Ironically, that case is now before the Supreme Court.

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