Sonia Sotomayor

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Sonia Sotomayor (born June 25, 1954) is a federal judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. On 26 May
Sonia Sotomayor
2009, Sotomayor was nominated by U.S. President Barack Obama to replace retiring Justice David Souter on the U.S. Supreme Court. If confirmed by the Senate, she will be the first Hispanic to hold this position, the second woman on the court and the third female justice in the history of the Supreme Court.

Early Life and Education

Sotomayor was born in The Bronx, New York, to Puerto Rican parents. She grew up in a housing project in the South Bronx. Sotomayor graduated from Cardinal Spellman High School in the Bronx. She earned her A.B. from Princeton University, summa cum laude, in 1976, where she won the Pyne Prize, the highest general award given to Princeton undergraduates.

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, 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.

In 1976 Sotomayor married while still a student at Princeton University, but divorced in 1983.


On June 25, 1997, she was nominated by former President Bill Clinton to the Court of Appeals. Despite wide support for her nomination, an anonymous senator put a secret hold on her nomination, blocking it for over a year: suspicions rest with the Republicans who were concerned that she would subsequently be appointed ot the Supreme Court. 

In 1998, several Hispanic organizations organized a petition drive in New York State, generating hundreds of signatures from New Yorkers to try to convince New York Republican Senator Al D'Amato to push the Senate leadership to bring Sotomayor's nomination to a vote. Her nomination had been pending for over a year when Majority Leader Trent Lott scheduled the vote. Many Republicans, including then-Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch and six other Republicans who are still in the Senate today, voted for Sotomayor's confirmation to the Second Circuit. With solid Democratic support, and support from about half of Republicans, Sotomayor was easily confirmed on October 2, 1998 in a 67-29 vote and she received her commission on October 7.

Supreme Court Nomination, 26 May 2009

Other contenders for the position on the Supreme Court included Federal Appeals Judge Diane P. Wood of Chicago, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Solicitor General Elena Kagan.

Baseball Ruling 1995

One of her most famous rulings involved breaking the baseball strike of 1994. Judge Sotomayor issued an injunction against major league baseball owners in April 1995, effectively ending a baseball strike of nearly eight months, the longest work stoppage in professional sports history, which had led to the cancellation of the World Series for the first time in 90 years.


See Also

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