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Obama’s choice for the Supreme Court is another American dream story, as told by Anayat Durrani and Eric Walberg



Federal Appeals Court Judge Sonia Sotomayor is on the path to become the first Latina and third woman to serve on the High Court. If confirmed by the Senate, she would join Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the only other woman on the court.


The 54-year-old daughter of Puerto Rican immigrants grew up in a public housing project in the South Bronx and lost her father at the age of nine. But this and her medical condition as a Type 1 diabetic did not stop Sotomayor from graduating from both Princeton and Yale.


United States President Barack Obama said he chose Sotomayor for her inspiring life journey and because she has “a distinguished career that spans three decades”. Taunting his Republican foes, Obama noted that Sotomayor “was nominated to the US District Court by a Republican president, George H W Bush.”


Since the announcement, conservatives opposing the appointment of Sotomayor have zeroed in on a statement she made at a 2001 lecture in Berkeley, California, discussing how a judge’s personal experiences in life affects their perspective. In her lecture she said, “I would hope that a Latina woman with the richness of her experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.” “She’s a quintessential spokesman for racial spoils,” charged Abigail Thernstrom.


Obama defended Sotomayor, saying “I am sure she would have restated it, but if you look in the entire sweep of the essay that she wrote [in 2001], what is clear is that she was simply saying that her life experiences will give her information about the struggles and hardships that people are going through, that will make her a good judge,” he said.


In his weekly address, Obama addressed critics’ opposition of Sotomayor’s nomination solely on her past statement. “There are, of course, some in Washington who are attempting to draw old battle lines and playing the usual political games, pulling a few comments out of context to paint a distorted picture of Judge Sotomayor’s record,” said Obama. “What the election of Obama said is, people want to move forward rather than backwards,” said the president’s senior adviser David Axelrod.


If confirmed to the US Supreme Court, she will be the sixth Roman Catholic of the nine justices. Some critics have brought up this fact and questioned how her Catholic upbringing would effect the make up of the Supreme Court.

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Eric writes for Al-Ahram Weekly and PressTV. He specializes in Russian and Eurasian affairs. His "Postmodern Imperialism: Geopolitics and the Great Games", "From Postmodernism to Postsecularism: Re-emerging Islamic Civilization" and "Canada (more...)

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