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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Obama nominates Sonia Sotomayor for Supreme Court
Christian Ehret at 10:04 AM ET

[JURIST] US President Barack Obama [WH profile] on Monday announced [press release] Sonia Sotomayor [official profile] as his nomination for the US Supreme Court [official website]. Sotomayor, currently a justice for the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit [official website], would replace Justice David Souter [official profile, PDF; JURIST news archive] when he retires [JURIST report] at the end of the current term, if she receives Senate majority approval. Obama said that after "deep reflection and careful consideration," the decision to nominate Sotomayor was based a variety of qualities including intelligence, recognition of judicial limitations and experience. Highlighting the importance of respecting precedent, Obama defined the judicial role as that of interpreting law and not making it. Obama also stressed the importance of Sotomayor's varied experience as a corporate litigator, prosecutor, and trial judge, quoting Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes in saying "the life of law has not been logic, it has been experience." Discussing the importance of bipartisanship, Obama pointed out that Sotomayor was originally appointed as a judge by George H. W. Bush and then appointed to the Second Circuit by Bill Clinton. Sotomayor addressed the press, saying:

I find endless challenges in the complexities of the law. I firmly believe in the rule of law as the foundation of all our lives. For as long as I can remember, I have been inspired by the achievement of our Founding Fathers. They set forth principles that have endured for more than two centuries. Those principles are as meaningful and relevant in each generation as the generation before. It would be a profound privilege for me to play a role in applying those principles to the questions and controversies we face today
If approved by the Senate, Sotomayor will be the first Latino and the third woman to serve on the Court.

Earlier this month, Senate Republicans expressed their interests [JURIST report] in having a Supreme Court nominee who would impartially apply the law. Sotomayor was one of five women that were reportedly being considered [JURIST report] by Obama earlier this month. When news of Souter's retirement first became public earlier this month, Obama said [JURIST report] he would, "seek somebody with a sharp and independent mind and a record of excellence and integrity."





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