Sotomayor, 54, if confirmed by the U.S. Senate, will succeed retiring Justice David Souter, a consistently liberal member of the nation's highest court.
Here are some highlights of Judge Sotomayor's life up until now:
1. She was born and raised in the Bronx borough of New York City, close enough to Yankee Stadium to turn her into a lifelong fan. Her parents were Puerto Rican immigrants — her father, a factory worker with a third-grade education who spoke no English, and her mother, a nurse.
2. Sonia was diagnosed with Type I diabetes at the age of eight. The following year, her father died unexpectedly at the age of 42. Sonia turned to books for solace, and says her love of girl detective Nancy Drew ultimately led her into law.
4. Sonia's mother, Celina, worked tirelessly to support her children as a single mother, and strongly emphasized education, spending her hard-earned money on the only set of encyclopedias in their neighborhood.
3. Sonia graduated as valedictorian of her class at the Roman Catholic school Blessed Sacrament and at the parochial Cardinal Spellman High School. She earned a scholarship to and her A.B. from Princeton University, graduating summa cum laude, then moved on to earned her J.D. at Yale Law School, where she was an editor of the Yale Law Journal.
4. Sotomayor served as an Assistant District Attorney for New York County for five years, prosecuting robbery, police brutality, murder, child pornography and assault cases. She then practiced corporate law for seven years with the private firm Pavia & Harcourt, where she specialized in intellectual property litigation.
5. President George H. W. Bush nominated Sotomayor to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in 1991; she was confirmed in 1992. In 1995, she saved America's favorite pastime by ending a long baseball strike with a ruling against the owners in favor of the players.
6. In 1997, President Bill Clinton nominated Sotomayor to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit; she was confirmed in 1998, becoming the first Latina to serve in one of the most demanding circuits nationwide. She has since participated in over 3,000 panel decisions and authored about 400 opinions.
7. Sotomayor has a younger brother, Juan, who is now a Syracuse doctor. She was married once, to Kevin Edward Noonan; they divorced after seven years and had no children.
8. During her remarks in reaction to her Supreme-Court nomination, Sotomayor cited "one extraordinary person who is my life aspiration" — her mother, Celina [mother & daughter are pictured above]. Said Sonia, "My mother has devoted her life to my brother and me ... I have often said that I am all I am because of her. And I am only half the woman she is."
Salut y buena suerte, Juez Sotomayor!!