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article imageSenate Approves Sotomayor as First Hispanic Supreme Court Justice

By Chris Dade     Aug 6, 2009 in Politics
Following a previously tense confirmation hearing before its Judiciary Committee, the U.S. Senate today confirmed Sonia Sotomayor as the first Hispanic, and only the third female, Supreme Court Justice.
Despite failing to gain the support of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, Ms Sotomayor did win the approval of 9 Republican senators, who joined with the entire Democrat representation to produce a 68-31 vote, Senator Ted Kennedy was absent through illness, in favor of the Federal Appeals Court Judge becoming the 111th person to serve on the Supreme Court.
Ms Sotomayor had in some quarters been accused of being a racist for remarks she made that in comparison to a white male judge "a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would, more often than not, reach a better conclusion". It was a remark that led to much unease amongst Republicans, who were equally interested to know her thoughts on other contentious issues such as gun control and property rights.
There was also much questioning of her decision in a discrimination lawsuit brought by a group of white firefighters from Connecticut. Her decision to dismiss the case was ultimately overruled by the body on which she will now serve.
In reaction to the news that Ms Sotomayor had received the necessary approval from the Senate to take her place on the Supreme Court, President Barack Obama had this to say on the success of his nominee: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. This is a wonderful day for Judge Sotomayor and her family, but I also think it's a wonderful day for America
As both CNN and the BBC report Ms Sotomayor has risen to the position that she has achieved today without any real advantages in life. Born to Puerto Rican parents who lived on a public housing project in the Bronx, she lost her father when she was 9 but with the support of her mother made her way to Princeton University and then Yale Law School.
Ms Sotomayor will be sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts at the Supreme Court on Saturday.
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