A Supreme Court Justice Worth Rallying AroundAugust 06, 2009
UPDATE: The Senate today confirmed Judge Sonia Sotomayor as an associate justice to the U.S. Supreme Court.
This afternoon, when Judge Sonia Sotomayor becomes the third women ever confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court, history will have been made. Of course, given her legal background and judicial experience, the outcome of her nomination wasn’t ever really in doubt. As Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) infamously stated on the first day of her hearings, unless she had “a complete meltdown,” confirmation seemed pretty assured. As expected, Sotomayor handled the hearing questions with a consistently calm and even temperament. Following that impressive performance, her confirmation was only a matter of time.
Yesterday, four U.S. senators, dozens of civil rights leaders, and hundreds of supporters gathered in Upper Senate Park on Capitol Hill to express their support for Sotomayor’s confirmation. You can watch video coverage of the event — complete with glimpses of AAUW signs and staffers — on Politico’s website. Why, when her confirmation was all but assured, did so many organizations — including AAUW — feel it necessary to come out and express their support for Sotomayor? The simple answer is that this is a nominee worth rallying around. And in the wake of fierce and persistent criticism from her opposition, it couldn’t hurt to remind the American people that Sotomayor is a very solid nominee. Her background and experience will make her a strong addition to the Supreme Court.
After careful analysis of her judicial record and her responses at last month’s confirmation hearings, AAUW came out in official support of Sotomayor’s nomination. As AAUW Executive Director Linda Hallman stated, “Based on Judge Sotomayor’s depth of legal experience, her stellar academic credentials, and her mainstream judicial record, AAUW believes she will be a strong addition to the highest court in the land.” Her credentials are plain; she has 17 years of federal judicial experience, which is more than any Supreme Court nominee in more than a century. She been nominated to judicial positions by presidents of both political parties, and, as the third woman and first Latina on the court, her confirmation will certainly break through barriers. Like I said, this is a nominee worth rallying around.
By gathering in front of the Capitol yesterday, AAUW and others expressed our support not only for Sotomayor herself but also for the kind of justice she represents: a strong, experienced, and yes, a wise Latina, justice. A strong, bipartisan confirmation vote in the Senate will ensure that this event will be remembered as a historic achievement.