08 August 2009

Sonia Sotomayor Sworn In Today!

From Denny: Sonia Sotomayor was sworn in today by Chief Justice Roberts in two ceremonies, one private and one public.

Another first is that this is the first time in the Court's history that television cameras were allowed for an oath-taking ceremony.

Sotomayor, a 55-year-old federal appeals judge, was confirmed on Thursday by a 68 - 31 vote. There were nine Republicans who joined the Democratic caucus to support her nomination. Because of his battling brain cancer, Senator Ted Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, was unable to be there to vote, though he has always supported her ground-breaking nomination.

When does Sotomayor begin her new job? The High Court reconvenes in September to listen to arguments about the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law.

So where does Sotomayor fit in the stats and trivia department? She is the 111th person to sit on the Supreme Court and only the third woman. Republicans have been adept at keeping women off the court for decades now. She is also the first Hispanic.

Her public professional history is that in 1992 she was named a district judge by President George Bush 41. Later she was elevated to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals just six years later by President Bill Clinton in 1998. While on the district court she presided over 450 cases.

In her private professional life she had been a partner at a firm as well as an assistant district attorney prosecuting violent crimes.

She has come to the Court with more experience than the Chief Justice and most of the rest of the Court members which is probably why the Republicans fought her rise.

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