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Sonia Sotomayor

Sonia Sotomayor

Sonia Maria Sotomayor is an American lawyer and jurist who works as an associated justice of the supreme court of the United States. The 44th president of the USA Barack Obama nominated her name on May 26, 2009. She is serving since 8th August 2009. She has so many firsts in her life. She is the first Latina, Hispanic, first woman of color, and the third woman to work in the Supreme court.

She was born on June 25, 1954. She was born in The Bronx, New York City. Her parents were from Puerto Rico. She lost her father when she was just nine and her mother raised her subsequently. She completed her graduation from Princeton University summa cum laude. She worked as an editor for Yale Law Journal, where she got her Juris Doctor. She started her private practices in 1984 and before that she was working as an assistant district attorney in New York. She was an active member of the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund and she was also on the board of directors of the State of New York Mortgage Agency, and the New York City Campaign Finance Board.

George Bush who was president of the USA in 1991 nominated her name to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, and she got selected in 1992. And then President Bill Clinton 1997 suggested her name for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. The nomination was slowed by the Republican Majority but she eventually got selected. She was also a teacher at the New York University School and Columbia Law School.

Sonia Sotomayor

Justice David Souter announced his retirement in 2009, after which President Barack Obama nominated her name to the Supreme Court. She got selected by the senate with a voting majority of 68-31. During her tenure, she is inclined toward the Liberal Bloc of justices when divided along the commonly perceived ideological lines. During her tenure, she is known to be concerned with the rights of defendants, and criminal justice reforms. She used to show strong feelings towards sensitive issues like race, gender, and ethnic identity. Some famous references could be Schuette v. Bamn, Utah v. Strieff, and Trump v. Hawaii.

Early Life

Sonia Sotomayor

Her father was Juan Sotomayor and he was from Sancture, San Juan, Puerto Rico. Sonia was born in New York City. And her mother's name was Celina Baez, and she was an orphan. They both left Puerto Rico separately. They got married during World War 2. Her mother served in Woman's Army Corps during WW 2. Her father was not that educated, and he could not even speak English. Her mother initially worked as a telephone operator and then worked as a practical nurse. She has one more sibling. His name was Juan Sotomayor, and he was a physician and a university professor in Syracuse, New York.

Her parents raised her in a Catholic environment and grew up in Puerto Rican communities. She identifies herself as "Nuyorican". She was a huge fan of the New York Yankees. Her family was a joint family. There were frequent get-togethers in her family and she used to visit Puerto Rico during summers.

She was not very close to her mother and father. She grew up with an alcoholic father and an emotionally distant mother. Her grandmother was very close to her. She gave her "Purpose and protection." When she was seven, she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. She used to take daily insulin injections. As her father was an alcoholic, he had many heart problems. He succumbed to those problems when he was 42. Sonia was nine years old when her father died.

With practice, she became fluent in English. She used to get inspired by characters in books and television series. First, she was inspired by Nancy Drew but after her diagnosis, her doctor suggested that she shouldn't go for detective and after watching the Perry Mason television series, she got inspired to pursue law and become a judge. In 1998, she said "I was going to college and I was going to become an attorney, and I knew that when I was ten. Ten. That's no jest."

For her mother Celina, education was very important. She bought a Britannica encyclopedia for her children, which was very odd in housing projects. Though Sonia was not very close to her mother, she considered Celina as her life inspiration. To improve her Grammar, she attended Blessed Sacrament School in Soundview. Her attendance was nearly 100 percent in that school. Later she cleared the entrance test for Cardinal Spellman High School in the Bronx and went there. There she got selected for the forensics team and also got elected to the student government.

College and Law School

Sonia Sotomayor

Sonia went to Princeton University. She got into Princeton due to her great academic results. She considers her time at Princeton "Life-Changing". Initially, she felt like an alien coming from the Bronx and Puerto Rico. Princeton had very few women students. Initially, she used to hesitate while asking questions in her freshman year. She had to work hard and burn the midnight oils to gain confidence and learn about things she didn't know.

She was also a student activist. Sonia stumbled in her first year, but she got 2 As in the second and third years. After graduating from Princeton, she got married to Kevin Edward Noonan on 14 August. She started dating Kevin when she was in high school. Kevin was a biologist and patent lawyer.

She joined Yale Law school during the winters of 1976. She did well when joined Yale university. She wasn't among the toppers of the class, but she was considered to be a hardworking student. During her second year, she joined the prominent New York law firm, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton, and Garrison.

She completed her studies at Yale in 1979 and was awarded Juris Doctor. She got admission to the New York bar in the same year.

Notable Rulings

  1. Abortion: In the year 2002, she supported the Bush Administration's policy in Centre for Reproductive Law and Policy V. Bush which says that "the United States will no longer contribute to separate nongovernmental organizations which perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning in other nations."
  2. Alcohol in commerce: Sonia was also part of the judging Panel that was working on Swedenborg vs Kelly. It was about how wineries that are imported from out of state, should not be given directly to consumers. Later it was overruled with the decision of 5-4.
  3. Civil Rights: Sotomayor was in support of the right that an individual should have the authority to sue private corporations that are faces of the federal government. This is also known as Correctional services Corp vs. Malesko (2000). Gant v. Wallingford Board of education was about, the parents of a black student alleging that their son was harassed, and he was sent to kindergarten from first-grade class without their consent, while similarly white situated students were treated differently. However Sonia Sotomayor dismissed this due to lack of evidence, but would have allowed the discrimination claim to go forward.

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