Greg Prince's Blog

Musings and pontifications from a reality based progressive

It’s Sotomayor

Posted by Greg on May 26, 2009

Apparently Obama got the memo, my favorite, Sonia Sotomayor, will be nominated for the Supreme Court this morning.  This bio from the NYTimes has been cited so much it’s amost trite by now, but it bears repeating.

Her potential appeal to President Obama as a nominee to the Supreme Court also derives in part from her personal story, a version of the up-from-modest-circumstances tales that have long been used to build political support. Judge Sotomayor, 54, grew up in a Bronx housing project, a child of Puerto Rican parents. She would be the court’s first Hispanic justice.

Her father died when she was 9, leaving her mother to raise her and a brother. In speeches to Latino groups over the years, Judge Sotomayor has recalled how her mother worked six days a week as a nurse to send her and her brother to Catholic school, purchased the only set of encyclopedias in the neighborhood and kept a warm pot of rice and beans on the stove every day for their friends.

She loved Nancy Drew mysteries, she once said, and yearned to be a police detective. But a doctor who diagnosed her childhood diabetes suggested that would be difficult. She traded her adoration of Nancy for an allegiance to Perry — she became a fan of Perry Mason on television, she said, and decided to become a lawyer.

She went to Princeton, which she has described as a life-changing experience. When she arrived on campus from the Bronx, she said it was like “a visitor landing in an alien country.” She never raised her hand in her first year there. “I was too embarrassed and too intimidated to ask questions,” Judge Sotomayor said.

In one speech, she sounded some themes similar to Mr. Obama’s description of his social uncertainties as a biracial youth in a largely white society.

“I have spent my years since Princeton, while at law school and in my various professional jobs, not feeling completely a part of the worlds I inhabit,” she said, adding that that despite her accomplishments, “I am always looking over my shoulder wondering if I measure up.”

After graduating summa cum laude from Princeton, she went to Yale Law School, worked for Robert M. Morgenthau in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and spent time in private practice before being named to the bench.

She will be a worthy addition, and thank heavens they didn’t listen to the idiocy coming from TNR on her record and abilities.

UPDATE:

The wingnuts are going to piss and moan about a clip where she speaks of the appeals court making policy.

All good and fine, but that’s not what she actually said.  Listen  to the whole thing.

She’s talking about the difference between appeals court, where you are looking at precedent and district court which deals with facts of the individual case.  It makes perfect sense and is completely accurate when you look at the whole thing.  Doesn’t mean the wingnuts won’t trumpet soundbites that mislead and lie.

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