“The Latina in me is an ember that blazes forever.” -Sonia Sotomayor
Very few people have had an opportunity to serve as one of the nine justices of the United States Supreme Court, and up until 2009 no person of Latino descent has ever had a seat on the bench - until Sonia Sotomayor was appointed by President Obama.
Sotomayor was born on June 25th, 1954 in New York City. Her upbringing was not perfect. Sonia was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at seven years old. A few years later, Sonia's father passed away at the age 42 from heart-related problems. During times of hardships, Sonia was inspired by Nancy Drew, leading her to have early aspirations of becoming a detective.
She later became one of Princeton University’s very few Latina students, which she used as a platform as she advocated for the school to hire full-time Latino professors, have Latin American Studies classes and hold seminars about Puerto Rican History and Politics. In addition, she ran an after-school program for children and was an interpreter for Latino patients at a local psychiatric hospital.
She became an assistant district attorney in 1979 during a time of the high crime and drug rates in New York City. During this era, she also was known for being strong enough to venture out into rough neighborhoods to interview victims of police brutality. As time went on, she began to see the effects of poverty and the socioeconomic environments in different neighborhoods, which caused more lower-level crimes. She earned a reputation for putting in long hours along with her honesty and fairness.
In 2009, it was speculated that Sonia was going to be President Obama's candidate for the Supreme Court, shortly after the news leaked of David Souter’s retirement. New York Senators Charles Schumer and Kristen Gillibrand wrote to the president to endorse her nomination. After Souter’s retirement, President Obama formally announced Sotomayor’s nomination.
Since her appointment, she has been an inspiring leader in many cases, especially those that involve race, gender, and ethical issues. In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, we recognize Supreme Justice Sotomayor for being a role model for many and empowering Latinas to reach their full potential.
Alex Walker-Griffin, Scribe - Social Blogger
Tiffany Gonzales, Head Scribe
Joseph Fortuno, Gladeo League Program Director