Monday, August 3, 2009

Action Alert: Final Senate Vote on confirmation of NAACP-supported nominee Sonia Sotomayor scheduled to begin tomorrow

On Tuesday, July 28, 2009, the Senate Judiciary Committee, by a vote of 13 yeas to 6 nays, supported the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to serve as an Associate Justice on the United States Supreme Court. The full senate is expected to begin debate on the nomination on Tuesday, August 4, with a final vote on her confirmation scheduled for the end of the week. If confirmed Judge Sotomayor will take a seat on the highest court of the land when it begins its next session in October.

Sonia Sotomayor is an excellent choice. The daughter of immigrant parents (her father, a tool-and-die worker with a third grade education, died when she was nine years old; her mother, a nurse, raised Judge Sotomayor and her brother on a very modest salary), she grew up in the housing projects in the Bronx. She went on to graduate from Princeton University summa cum laude in 1976, and then from Yale Law School (where she was the editor of the law journal) in 1979.

After law school she got a job as an assistant district attorney in New York City, where she prosecuted cases involving police brutality, murder, child pornography and assaults. After a time in private practice, she was nominated in 1991 by President George H. Bush to serve as a federal judge for the U.S. District Court, southern District of New York. Six years later, she was nominated by President Bill Clinton to serve as an appellate judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, where she has served since 1998. She has been a prosecutor, private litigator, trial judge, and appellate judge. No one currently on the Court has that complete package of experience. If confirmed for the Supreme Court, Judge Sotomayor would bring more federal judicial experience to the Supreme Court than any justice in 100 years, and more overall judicial experience than anyone confirmed for the Court in the past 70 years. She has been a big-city prosecutor and a corporate litigator, a federal trial judge on the U.S. District Court, and an appellate judge on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

A thorough review of Judge Sotomayor's record shows that she is an intelligent jurist with mainstream values, a proven commitment to civil rights protection and an even temperament. Her 17 years on the federal bench show that she takes an impartial and balanced approach to the cases before her, and that she is above all fair.

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