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FIRST Latino Justice in U.S. History.

► THIRD Woman Justice in U.S. History.

"A bold and Brilliant choice."

"She has a big heart and a brilliant mind."

► Harvard Professor Charles Ogletree.

"An extraordinary moment in the history of the country."

► Ron Brownstein, National Journal

"Only in America.  A courageous pick."

► Mark Whittaker, MSNBC Washington DC Bureau Chief

"America has just changed."

► Jeffery Toobin, CNN

"There wasn’t a dry eye in the room, when she spoke."

► Suzanne Malveaux, CNN

► On the other hand, the wingnuts (including asswipe Tweety) are already attacking her; they even ran a nasty ad on MSNBC, 45 minutes before the announcement.



► Runs 7:39



Common Touch – Empathy

► "That emotion will never leave me humility, a deep, deep sense of humility," she told AP in a November 1998 interview about how she felt signing her first judgment of conviction, an order that sent a drug offender to prison for five.  "And a deep, deep sense of, there but for the grace of God could I have gone and many that I have loved."

► "I have spent my years and my various professional jobs not feeling completely a part of any of the worlds I inhabit," she said in a November 2002 interview with The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education. "We educated, privileged lawyers have a professional and moral duty to represent the underrepresented in our society, to ensure that justice exists for all, both legal and economic justice."

► "Once you have been a judge, you understand that whatever your personal views are upon an issue and few of us can make a decision in the abstract, because that is not the nature of judging," she said in a February 2006 interview with The Federal Lawyer.

► Grew up as an avid reader of Nancy Drew books.  She empathized with the female heroine.

► Yale classmate Robert Klonoff, who is now dean of the Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland, said she "was tenacious, she was absolutely brilliant."  She game him an "understanding, in a way I hadn't before, the hurdles someone has to overcome, even when they're a student at Yale."

On Mandatory Sentencing:

In a 1993 drug case, threw out evidence obtained in a search because a police detective had lied to obtain the search warrant.

Defense agreed to plea bargain, but at sentencing, Sotomayor criticized the severity of the five-year sentence that the federal guidelines required her to impose. She told the defendant, "The only statement I can make is, this is one more example of an abomination being committed before our sights. You do not deserve this, sir."

Jeff Sessions screamed about this at her confirmation hearings, in 1998, saying, she had no respect for the law.

► Wall Street Journal hammered her in 1998 for ruling that a Manhattan business coalition had broken the law by paying less than the minimum wage to homeless people it was trying to give work experience.

► Issued injunction supporting player’s union in the 1994-95 Major League Baseball strike.

► Once warned a lawyer who appealed the 30-year prison sentence given to a police officer who sodomized a defendant that the appeals court might suggest the sentence should be increased because of the brutality of the crime.

► Age 55

► Raised in the Bronxdale Housing project, in the South Bronx, New York

► Die hard New York Yankee Fan!!!

► Her father was a tool-and-die maker, who passed away when she was 9.

► Raised with her brother by single-mother, who was a nurse in a methadone clinic.

Judge Sotomayor's mom

► Won scholarship to Princeton University, where she graduated summa cum laude.

► She earned her law degree at Yale, where she was editor of the law journal.

► At 40, she became the youngest judge in the Southern District of New York and the FIRST judge of Puerto Rican descent.

► Divorced; no children.

► Assistant DA for Manhattan from 1979 to 1984;  Partner at Pavia & Harcourt from 1984 to 1992.

► U.S. District Court judge in Manhattan in 1992-1998;  U.S. Appeals Court judge in Manhattan in 1998-present.

► Board member of the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund.

Thank you, Mr. President!


Other Notable Rulings

► Tossed out a state prison rule banning members of a religious sect from wearing colored beads.

► Rejected a suburban law preventing the display of a 9-foot-high menorah in a park.

► Ruled that the 1996 crash of TWA Flight 800 eight miles off the coast of Long Island occurred within U.S. territorial waters, allowing victims' families to sue for damages that would have been barred if it happened in international seas.

► Ruled that the Freedom of Information Act required the government to release the suicide note of former White House lawyer Vincent Foster.

► Struck down order preventing news media from publishing jurors' names that had been read aloud in open court during the trial of former investment banker Frank Quattrone on charges of interfering with a federal investigation into securities fraud.

► Upheld warrantless searches of ferry riders crossing Lake Champlain because the federal government had an interest in protecting the ferry from terrorism.


Originally posted to Al Rodgers on Tue May 26, 2009 at 08:09 AM PDT.

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