Sotomayor Passes First Test
The Senate Judiciary Committee voted today in favor of confirming Judge Sonia Sotomayor's nomination to the Supreme Court, sending it to the full Senate for a vote. The vote was 13 to 6, with one Republican, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, joining the Democratic majority.
The Senate is expected to confirm Sotomayor, 55, before Congress takes a recess in August; she would be seated for the Supreme Court term beginning in October. She would be the first Hispanic and the third woman ever on the court. It is also believed that Sotomayor would be the first Supreme Court justice to have diabetes.
Sotomayor, born in New York to Puerto Rican parents, was living in a public housing project in the Bronx when she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 8. At the time, her doctors warned her that diabetes would shorten her life by decades. Sotomayor has said that her love of Nancy Drew mysteries first sparked her interest in becoming a lawyer. "She was informed that people with diabetes can't grow up to be police officers or private investigators like Nancy Drew," President Barack Obama said in May while announcing his nomination of Sotomayor to replace retiring Justice David Souter.
Sotomayor is a graduate of Princeton University and Yale Law School. After stints as a prosecutor and in private practice, she was named a federal judge in 1992 by President George H.W. Bush. In 1998, President Bill Clinton picked Sotomayor to become the first Latina to serve on the federal appeals bench.
Senators on the Judiciary Committee did not raise Sotomayor's diabetes as an issue in public sessions during four days of confirmation hearings. The committee held a closed session, during which classified information and often health matters are discussed, according to a committee aide, but those discussions are not made public.
"We're encouraged that the senators involved in the nomination hearings understand that diabetes is not something that would hurt Judge Sotomayor's ability to serve on the Supreme Court," says American Diabetes Association Vice Chair of the Board John W. Griffin, Jr. "Judge Sotomayor is living proof that a person with diabetes can reach the top of her profession. She is a shining example of what people can do when they manage their diabetes well."
In a letter released by the White House, Sotomayor's longtime endocrinologist said she was "in very good health" and added that her blood glucose levels have been "better than 98 percent" of people with diabetes. She controls her diabetes with insulin injections.