Federal appeals judge Sonia Sotomayor—a lecturer at Columbia Law School—made history when President Barack Obama, CC ’83, announced Tuesday morning that he will nominate her to the Supreme Court, making her the nation’s first Hispanic justice.
If confirmed by the Senate, Sotomayor will become the 111th justice of the nation’s highest court, replacing Justice David Souter, who is retiring after 19 years on the bench.
In his announcement, President Obama described Sotomayor as “an inspiring woman who I am confident will make a great justice,” adding that she has “a rigorous intellect, a mastery of the law.”
Sotomayor has been a Columbia lecturer in law since 1999, earning $10,000 a year, according to Pace University’s Web site, where she has received an honorary degree. Lecturers in law are adjunct faculty members of Columbia Law School.
According to a statement from Columbia Law School, Sotomayor "created and has co-taught a course called the Federal Appellate Externship every semester since fall 2000. This course combines intensive work in the chambers of a Second Circuit Judge with class sessions and a moot court exercise."
Sotomayor, raised by Puerto Rican parents in the Bronx public housing projects, has sat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit for 16 years. Following her undergraduate years at Princeton, she began her law career as a student at Yale Law School where she served as an editor of the Yale Law Review.
Later, she worked for Robert Morgenthau in the New York district attorney’s office. In 1991, President H.W. Bush nominated her to the federal district court, and she was confirmed a year later. President Bill Clinton elevated Sotomayor to the appeals court, for which she was confirmed in 1998.
Check columbiaspectator.com for updates.