8.06.2009

UPDATED: "Justice" Sotomayor Confirmed as the First Latina Justice of the Supreme Court (68-31)

Congratulations Justice Sotomayor!


(AP/J. Scott Applewhite)
From MSNBC, the final vote (with Al Franken presiding over the Senate!):
From ThinkProgress:
Senate confirms Sotomayor.

By a 68-31 margin, the Senate has confirmed Judge Sonia Sotomayor as the first Latina Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Sotomayor’s swearing-in ceremony could take place as soon as tomorrow. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) released a statement praising the confirmation:

The confirmation of this immensely qualified individual, with her long history of public service, is an historic moment for the Senate, the judiciary, the Hispanic community, and each and every American. Her life story is the essence of the American dream. Regardless of our differences, this is a moment in which we can all celebrate the belief that in America, all things are possible. History will recall this time when we crossed paths with the quintessentially American journey of Sonia Sotomayor, and when the country took yet another step forward in fulfilling the promise of our great Nation.

From the AP via HuffPo:
Sotomayor Confirmed To Supreme Court

WASHINGTON — The Senate confirmed Sonia Sotomayor Thursday as the first Hispanic justice on the Supreme Court. The vote was 68-31 for Sotomayor, President Barack Obama's first high court nominee. She becomes the 111th justice and just the third woman to serve.

Democrats praised the 55-year-old Sotomayor as a mainstream moderate. But most Republicans voted against her, saying she'd bring personal bias and a liberal agenda to the bench.

Senators took the rare step of assembling at their desks on the Senate floor for the historic occasion, rising from their seats to cast their votes.

She replaces retiring Justice David Souter, a liberal named by a Republican president, and she is not expected to alter the court's ideological split.

read more...
From the Nation's John Nichols:
Justice Sonia Sotomayor

Judge Sonia Sotomayor has been confirmed to serve as the 111th justice on the United States Supreme Court.

The vote, by an overwhelming (68-31) Senate majority that included Wisconsin senators Russ Feingold and Herb Kohl, was as Feingold explained to the Senate "a significant moment in our nation's history."

Justice Sotomayor is a Latina, the first ever to sit on the nation's highest court. And for all the controversy that her past comments about the need and value of diversity on the courts may have inspired among those who cling to a disappearing and discredited past, there is simply no question that the addition of a wise Latina to the Supreme Court represents a measure of progress not merely for one ethnic group but for the whole of America.

It was, we can hope, an understanding of this reality that led nine Republicans to join the Senate's Democrats in voting to confirm Barack Obama's first nominee to the Supreme Court.

There can be no honest debate that Feingold, the history buff who chair the Constitution subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee, spoke a necessary truth Thursday when said that Judge Sotomayor is "someone whose remarkable life story and varied experience will add diversity and perspective, which the Court sorely needs."

read more....
From the NY Times:
Sotomayor Confirmed by Senate, 68-31


WASHINGTON — Voting largely along party lines, the Senate on Thursday confirmed Judge Sonia Sotomayor as the 111th justice of the Supreme Court. She will be the first Hispanic and the third woman to serve on the court.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. was expected to administer the oath of office to Judge Sotomayor, 55, in the next few days, with a formal ceremony likely in September. She succeeds Justice David H. Souter, who retired in June.

Democrats celebrated the successful nomination and relatively smooth confirmation process as a bright spot in a summer when they have been buffeted by several challenges, including rocky progress on their attempts to overhaul the nation’s health care system, President Obama’s falling approval ratings, the climbing unemployment rate and other lingering economic problems.

Judge Sotomayor’s confirmation was never in much doubt, given Democrats’ numerical advantage in the Senate. But the final vote — 68 to 31 — represented a partisan divide. No Democrat voted against her, while all but 9 of the chamber’s 40 Republicans did so. Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, is ailing and did not vote.

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UPDATE I:
Center for American Progress Released this statement:

Today the nation celebrates another historic moment with the Senate’s endorsement of the first Latina nominated to the Supreme Court. Just as President Barack Obama’s own historic election inspired millions of young Americans to strive to follow in his footsteps, Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s life story teaches that no American should limit their aspirations.

Sotomayor’s confirmation also affirms what was obvious the moment President Obama introduced her to the American people: Sotomayor’s brilliant intellect, compelling life story, solid credentials, extensive judicial experience, and 17-year record of fidelity to the law prepare her well for the Supreme Court.

Unfortunately, Sotomayor joins a Supreme Court dominated by deeply conservative justices hostile to the laws Congress enacted to protect Americans. These justices have consistently placed employers’ interests ahead of laws forbidding employment discrimination, ignored the plain meaning of laws protecting the environment, and repeatedly seized opportunities to immunize corporate interests from the law. Sotomayor’s record of faithfully applying the law to all the parties who appear before her is exactly the change Americans voted for last November.

The confirmation of President Obama’s first Supreme Court nominee is a victory for all Americans who believe in equal justice under the law. She will make an outstanding justice.

UPDATE II:

President Obama's Statement (Via DKTV):


UPDATE III:

MSNBC: Sotomayor to be sworn in Saturday

UPDATE IV:

From the WaPo:

Senate Confirms Sonia Sotomayor for Supreme Court

Sotomayor becomes the third woman to serve on the Supreme Court, following Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and former Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

Sotomayor watched the historic vote from the New York City courthouse where she has served for the past 11 years as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, according to friends. She previously was a federal trial judge for six years. It is unclear when President Obama will swear her in as an associate justice.

"With this confirmation we will be making progress," Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), the Judiciary Committee chairman, said in the final hour of debate Thursday. "Years from now, we will remember this time when we crossed paths with a quintessentially American journey of Sonia Sotomayor."

She will take her seat on the court in early September when the justices convene for a rare out-of-session hearing on a campaign finance case involving a conservative group that opposed the 2008 presidential campaign of Hillary Rodham Clinton. Sotomayor will begin her first full session as the court's most junior member Oct. 5.

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UPDATE V:

From MSNBC:

Senate confirms Sotomayor for high court

Speaking after the vote, Obama said he is "pleased and deeply gratified" with the Senate's action.

Said the president: "With this historic vote, the Senate has affirmed that Justice Sotomayor has the intellect, the temperament, the history, the integrity and the independence of mind to ably serve on our nation's highest court."

Democrats praised the 55-year-old Sotomayor as a mainstream moderate. But most Republicans voted against her, saying she'd bring personal bias and a liberal agenda to the bench.

Senators took the rare step of assembling at their desks on the Senate floor for the historic occasion, rising from their seats to cast their votes.

[snip]

Democrats, for their part, hailed the vote as a breakthrough achievement for the country, on par with enactment of civil rights laws. They warned Republicans they risked a backlash from Hispanic voters in the short term and an enduring black mark on their party in history books by opposing Sotomayor's confirmation.

"History awaits, and so does an anxious Hispanic community in this country," said Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey, the Senate's lone Hispanic Democrat and the head of his party's campaign arm, just minutes before the vote.

"When she places her hand on the Bible and takes the oath of office, the new portrait of the justices of the Supreme Court will clearly reflect who we are as a nation, what we stand for as a fair, just and hopeful people."

The Senate chamber was heavy with history as senators cast their votes in turn.

read more...

UPDATE VI:

Check out this chart from FiveThiryEight's Nate Silver. The top fives votes against Sonia Sotomayor come from rethugs in the five states with the greatest Latino populations. Can you say, morons?

Hispanic Votes Not Swaying GOP on Sotomayor

read more....
Is that wild or what?


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