Obama Nominates Sotomayor
May 26 — President Barack Obama announced today that he would nominate federal appeals Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. If confirmed by the Senate, Sotomayor would replace retiring Justice David Souter and become the first Hispanic and the third woman in history to serve on the court. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg is currently the only woman among the nine justices.
Sotomayor's selection is significant for another reason: She has had type 1 diabetes for 46 years. "In the days leading up to this nomination, there were several media reports suggesting that Judge Sotomayor should not be considered for this position simply because she has type 1 diabetes," R. Paul Robertson, MD, the American Diabetes Association's president of medicine and science, said in a statement. "The advancements in the management of type 1 diabetes have been just amazing over the last two decades, and the ability of people to manage their diabetes successfully has been proven. People with diabetes can function and live a long and healthy life."
The fact that Sotomayor overcame barriers will serve her well on the Supreme Court, Obama said after announcing his pick. "She was informed that people with diabetes can't grow up to be police officers or private investigators like Nancy Drew. And that's when she was told she'd have to scale back her dreams," the president said at the White House announcement. "Sonia, what you've shown in your life is that it doesn't matter where you come from, what you look like, or what challenges life throws your way—no dream is beyond reach in the United States of America."
Sotomayor, 54, was raised in a Bronx, N.Y., public housing project by her Puerto Rican mother, a nurse. (Her father died when she was young.) Sotomayor was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at 8 years old and has said she was told by her doctor to abandon her dream of becoming a police detective. Instead, inspired by the then popular TV show Perry Mason, she decided to pursue a legal career.
Sotomayor won a scholarship to Princeton University, graduated summa cum laude, and went on to graduate from Yale Law School. After five years as a prosecutor with the Manhattan district attorney's office and a stint in private practice, she was appointed to the federal bench in 1991 by President George H.W. Bush and promoted by President Bill Clinton to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York. She is best known for her 1995 injunction against Major League Baseball owners, which ended an eight-month-long baseball strike.