From now on call her Justice Sonia Sotomayor. The U.S. Senate confirmed her to the Supreme Court of the United States today with a 68-31 vote. Sotomayor, 55, is the first person of Hispanic heritage, the third woman to join the high court, and the 111th justice.
She will be sworn in at the Supreme Court by Chief Justice John Roberts on Saturday.
President Obama, who selected Sotomayor on May 26, said he was "deeply gratified" by the Senate vote.
"This is a wonderful day for Judge Sotomayor and her family, but I also think it's a wonderful day for America," Obama said at the White House. (CNN)
Her journey to the honor has been a bumpy ride with challenges from anti-abortion groups questioning her commitment to "life" to other opponents calling her a racist, an accusation also lobbed against Justice Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American to be confirmed to the SCOTUS.
BlogHer CE Kim Pearson described Sotomayor's confirmation hearings as "political theater at its finest," while The Latino Politics Blog asked earlier this month, "Will Latinos remember how Judge Sotomayor was treated?" The blogger speaks specifically of Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee who did not back the judge:
I was able to catch this clip on NPR with two experts discussing the impact that opposing Sotomayor could have in the Latino political sphere in the future. My take is that Republican Senators who have chosen to oppose Sotomayor are making a bold calculation that could backlash. Given the current political climate, President Obama has taken a more centrist approach to governing than many expected, and Sotomayor’s judicial record has not indicated that her rulings fall outside of the mainstream. Throughout the hearings, Judge displayed an even temperament, defying the notion that she is an “angry Latina.” She has acquired the support of rank and file law enforcement, district attorneys, and even Republican Senators Mel Martinez, Richard Lugar, and Olympia Snowe (the voice of reason wing of the GOP). Considering that there are other bones to pick with the Obama administration and more progressive Democrats about health care, gun control, taxes, and possibly immigration, the GOP Senators’ choice to put up a fight regarding Judge Sotomayor is silly and rather shortsighted. (Latino Politics Blog)
That writer is not the only one wondering about what the battle for Sotomayor's seating means for the future. A Wall Street Journal writer has questions as well but from a different perspective:
So what does the vote mean? On the one hand, that she was confirmed was hardly surprising; given all the pregaming, we practically knew not only that she’d be confirmed but that she’d get around 68 votes.
On the other, the 31 Republicans who voted against her seem pretty pleased with themselves, according to this story, by the Dow Jones Newswires’s Kristina Peterson.
Why? Here’s why, according to Peterson:
[T]he show of party unity will discourage Mr. Obama from choosing a more liberal candidate in future picks and that the arguments they developed against Judge Sotomayor set a precedent for rejecting what they see as “activist” judges.
Said one Republican aide: "I think from the beginning a lot of people have seen this as setting up the stage for the next one."(Ashby Jones at the Wall Street Journal)
At other blogs, a dissection of the hearings and vote may be saved for later. The blogosphere rings with well wishes to the new justice. Maegan La Mamita Mala at Vivir Latino gives unqualified congratulations: "Felicidades to fellow Nuyorican mujer Sonia Sotomayor who was confirmed today by the U.S. Senate as the 111th justice of the Supreme Court."
Jill in Gender at Feministe writes that Sotomayor would not have been her first choice, but concedes her rise to the SCOTUS is welcomed. Jean Nedeau reporting for Women's Rights at Change.org offers congratulations and shares the breakdown of votes from the New York Times. Echoing the accurate characterization of today's confirmation, journalist Taylor Marsh writes, "History made."
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