After dropping hints that he might choose a non-judge for the Supreme Court, President Obama today nominated Judge Sonia Sotomayor of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. If confirmed by the Senate, Sotomayor, 54, would replace Justice David Souter to become the second woman on the court and only the third female justice in U.S. history. She would be the first Hispanic justice. WABC-TV in New York City says Sotomayor spent five years as an assistant district attorney in Manhattan, working under Robert Morgenthau, prosecuting robberies, assaults, murders, police brutality, and child pornography cases. At the White House today, she recalled “prosecuting violent crimes that devastate our communities.”
Says Tom Goldstein of Scotusblog.com: “She has been a prosecutor, private litigator, trial judge, and appellate judge. No one currently on the Court has that complete package of experience.” The Los Angeles Times says Sotomayor has said that her gender and Puerto Rican heritage affect her decisions. “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life,” she said in 2001. The president reportedly had narrowed his list to four, including federal appellate judge Diane Wood of Chicago, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, and Solicitor General Elena Kagan.