The Senate confirmed Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination on August 6th by a 68-31 vote, making her the first Hispanic on the U.S. Supreme Court. The confirmation also makes the 55-year-old federal appeals court judge the 111th person to sit on the Supreme Court, but only the third female justice. Nine Republicans, who should be commended, joined a unanimous Democratic caucus in supporting her nomination.
Senators spent the final morning of debate rehashing the main arguments for and against Judge Sotomayor. Democrats praised the nominee as a fair and impartial jurist, which her record bears out, and as a person with an extraordinary life story. But before her confirmation many Republicans – for selfish political purposes – continued to portray her as a judicial activist, intent on reinterpreting the law to conform with her own political beliefs. Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, helped open the final day of debate by praising the nominee’s lengthy judicial record. Senator Leahy had this to say about this extraordinary woman:
Judge Sotomayor is a judge of unimpeachable character and integrity. These critics have … chosen to ignore her extensive record of judicial modesty and restraint, a record made over 17 years on the federal bench. Instead they focused on and mischaracterized her rulings in just a handful of her more than 3,600 cases.
I am convinced that Justice Sotomayor will be an outstanding member of U.S. Supreme Court. In my opinion, she will be a force for good on the High Court. President Obama made a great selection.
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