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The who and what of Sonia Sotomayor

Hopefully at this point you have at least an idea of who Sonia Sotomayor is. She’s been in the news, well, obscenely because of her Supreme Court nomination on May 26. Then the press has found plenty of other things to critique her about. While the nation anxiously awaits the confirmation or rejection of the first female Hispanic Supreme Court Justice, the nation also anxiously analyzes her every move.

Sonia Sotomayor was born in the Bronx to Puerto Rican parents. Her father died when she was 8, leaving her mother to raise her. She graduated valedictorian in 1972 at Cardinal Spellman High School. She married Kevin Edward Noonan in 1976 and entered Yale Law School that same year. After graduating from Yale in 1979 with a J.D. she passed her bar exam the following year. Three years later, in 1983, Sotomayor and Noonan divorced. They had no children.

After being a lawyer for several years, Sotomayor was nominated on November 27, 1991 by President George H.W. Bush for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York after it was vacated by John M. Walker, Jr.

According to The White House’s Web site, “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…”

Well, maybe you agree and maybe you don’t agree with The White House. The New York Times outlined some of Sotomayor’s “most notable court opinions.” She favors allowing lawsuits against companies performing state government functions like federal prisons. She believes that people who are medically considered disabled should be given extra accommodations. She found that the Second Amendment applies to only whatever the federal government decides.

As we know, she was nominated by President Obama to be the nation’s first Hispanic female Supreme Court justice. Because of this, everything she’s been doing is under scrutiny. She’s recently been in the news for…many things. The main issue that everyone has been discussing is her “racism.”

Self-proclaiming herself as a “wise Latina” has caused her to catch some serious slack. In 2001 at a speech in California Sotomayor said, “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.”

Guess who’s getting mad about this? The white males are. I can’t say that this is racism. If anything, I would call sexist or maybe just confident. Undoubtedly there are issues you won’t agree with her on. Yet, the choice remains in the hands of the Supreme Court. As we await the decision, right and left-winged representatives continue to analyze her every move, both past and present.

Regardless, the nomination itself is a step in the right direction toward race equality in America.