Sonia Maria Sotomayor (/ˈsoʊnjə ˌsoʊtoʊmaɪˈjɔr/, ; born June 25, 1954) is an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, serving since August 2009. Sotomayor is the Court's 111th justice, its first Hispanic justice, and its third female justice.
Sotomayor was born in The Bronx, New York City and is of Puerto Rican descent. Her father died when she was nine, and she was subsequently raised by her mother. Sotomayor graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University in 1976 and received her J.D. from Yale Law School in 1979, where she was an editor at the Yale Law Journal. She was an advocate for the hiring of Latino faculty at both schools. She worked as an assistant district attorney in New York for four and a half years before entering private practice in 1984. She played an active role on the boards of directors for the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, the State of New York Mortgage Agency, and the New York City Campaign Finance Board.
Sotomayor was nominated to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York by President George H. W. Bush in 1991, and her nomination was confirmed in 1992. In 1997, she was nominated by President Bill Clinton to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Her nomination was slowed by the Republican majority in the United States Senate, but she was eventually confirmed in 1998. On the Second Circuit, Sotomayor heard appeals in more than 3,000 cases and wrote about 380 opinions. Sotomayor has taught at the New York University School of Law and Columbia Law School.
In May 2009, President Barack Obama nominated Sotomayor to the Supreme Court to replace retired Justice David Souter. Her nomination was confirmed by the Senate in August 2009 by a vote of 68–31. On the court, Sotomayor has been a reliable member of the liberal bloc when the justices divide along the commonly perceived ideological lines.
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