WISCONSINREPORT.COM (05/26/2009) - President Barack Obama officially nominated Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court this morning (Tuesday) following a White House search that in the end, reportedly, included five women on the Short List. If approved by Congress, Judge Sotomayor will be the first hispanic to sit on the Supreme Court. U.S. Senators Herb Kohl and Russ Feingold say Sotomayor seems to be a good choice, but they reserve the right to study her qualifications carefully, because filling the Supreme Court seat being vacated is serious business.
Judge Sotomayor's judicial service began in October 1992 with her appointment to the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York by President George H.W. Bush. Still in her 30s, she was the youngest member of the court. From 1992 to 1998, she presided over roughly 450 cases.
As a trial judge, she earned a reputation as a sharp and fearless jurist who does not let powerful interests bully her into departing from the rule of law. In 1995, for example, she issued an injunction against Major League Baseball owners, effectively ending a baseball strike that had become the longest work stoppage in professional sports history and had caused the cancellation of the World Series the previous fall. She was widely lauded for saving baseball.
President Clinton appointed Judge Sotomayor to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in 1998. She is the first Latina to serve on that court, and has participated in over 3000 panel decisions, authoring roughly 400 published opinions.
U.S. Senator Herb Kohl is second in seniority among Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is responsible for conducting the nomination hearings.
"I’m pleased to learn of President Obama’s historic nomination of the first Latina to the Supreme Court," Senator Kohl said. "By all accounts, Judge Sotomayor is accomplished, exceptionally bright and well-respected by her peers."
"It would be tough to classify her as a liberal or a conservative, and my hope is that she is a candidate I can support," Senator Kohl continued.
"I look forward to learning more about her experience and views during her confirmation hearings later this summer," Senator Kohl said.
"In the meantime, I plan to reconvene my Supreme Court Nomination Task Force to review Judge Sotomayor’s qualifications and give me a balanced view of her record," Senator Herb Kohl said.
In replacing Justice Souter who is resigning from the Supreme Court, President Barack Obama has vowed to seek someone with a sharp and independent mind, and a record of excellence and integrity. As a former constitutional law professor, the President has indicated he believes it paramount to select someone who rejects ideology and shares his deep respect for the Constitutional values on which this nation was founded. The President noted in his remarks when making the official announcement that he thinks Sotomayor fits what he has been looking for.
U.S. Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) supports Judge Stomayor's nomination by President Obama.
"I congratulate Judge Sonia Sotomayor on her nomination to the United States Supreme Court and President Obama on his first Supreme Court nomination," Senator Feingold said.
"I supported Judge Sotomayor’s nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals in 1998 and from all accounts, she is a highly qualified and very experienced judge," said Senator Feingold.
"Judge Sotomayor’s nomination marks a historic moment for our nation. She is the first Hispanic American to be nominated to our nation’s highest court and if confirmed, she would be just the third woman to serve on the Court," Senator Feingold pointed out.
"Evaluating a Supreme Court nominee is a responsibility I take very seriously considering the significant impact a Supreme Court justice can have on our country," Senator Feingold said.
"I look forward to thoroughly reviewing Judge Sotomayor’s record and questioning her during the Judiciary Committee’s hearings," Senator Russ Feingold said.