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Honorable Sonia Maria Sotomayor (June 25, 1954)


Sonia Maria Sotomayor born June 25, 1954, is an American lawyer and jurist who serves as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. She was nominated by President Barack Obama on May 26, 2009, and has served since August 8, 2009. She is the third woman, first woman of color, the first Hispanic, and first Latina to serve on the Supreme Court.

 

Sotomayor was born in The BronxNew York City, to Puerto Rican-born parents. Her father died when she was nine, and she was subsequently raised by her mother. Sotomayor graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University in 1976 and received her Juris Doctor from Yale Law School in 1979, where she was an editor at the Yale Law Journal. She worked as an assistant district attorney in New York for four and a half years before entering private practice in 1984. She played an active role on the boards of directors for the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, the State of New York Mortgage Agency, and the New York City Campaign Finance Board.


Sotomayor was nominated to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York by President George H. W. Bush in 1991; confirmation followed in 1992, making her the youngest member of the court and the first Latina to serve on a federal bench in New York. In 1997, she was nominated by President Bill Clinton to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, making her the first Latina to serve on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Her nomination was slowed by the Republican majority in the United States Senate, but she was eventually confirmed in 1998. On the Second Circuit, Sotomayor heard appeals in more than 3,000 cases and wrote about 380 opinions. Sotomayor has taught at the New York University School of Law and Columbia Law School.


In May 2009, President Barack Obama nominated Sotomayor to the Supreme Court following the retirement of Justice David Souter. Her nomination was confirmed by the Senate in August 2009 by a vote of 68–31. While on the Court, Sotomayor has supported the informal liberal bloc of justices when they divide along the commonly perceived ideological lines. During her Supreme Court tenure, Sotomayor has been identified with concern for the rights of defendants and criminal justice reform, and is known for her impassioned dissents on issues of race, gender and ethnic identity, including Schuette v. BAMNUtah v. Strieff, and Trump v. Hawaii.