President Barack Obama has picked Sonia Sotomayor, 54, a Hispanic judge on the Federal Appeals Court, to replace outgoing justice, David Souter, on the United States Supreme Court.
She is the first Hispanic in history nominated to the high court.
"In nominating Judge Sotomayor, President Obama has chosen a person with a powerful intellect and a distinguished career as a lawyer and as a judge," said John Payton, NAACP Legal Defense Fund Director- counsel. "She has a deep commitment to the rule of law that has grown out of life experiences which would be unique to a Justice of the United States Supreme Court."
Before his selection, Pres. Obama had previously said "intellectual firepower" was paramount. But in addition to that, he was searching for someone who not only had a commitment to fidelity to the Constitution, but a common-sense approach to making decisions that affect average Americans as well.
The next Supreme Court Justice, says President Obama, will have to understand “how the law works, or does not work, in the lives of Americans.”
A judge on the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of appeals, Sonia Sotomayor, the White House says, will bring more judicial experience to the Supreme court than any justice in the past 70 years.
Sotomayor, who is of Puerto Rican descent, grew up in a housing project in the Bronx, N.Y., where she attended a Catholic High School. Later, she went to Princeton for her undergraduate education; then to Yale for a law degree. At Yale, she was editor of the Yale Law Review.