Obama picks Judge Sonia Sotomayor for US Supreme Court vacancy - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Obama picks Judge Sonia Sotomayor for US Supreme Court vacancy

Judge Sonia Sotomayor Judge Sonia Sotomayor

WASHINGTON (NBC) - President Obama has decided who he wants to replace retiring justice David Souter on the U.S. Supreme Court.

She's a woman, a New Yorker and the first Hispanic ever nominated.

Her name is Sonia Sotomayor.

She's a Federal Appeals Court judge from New York with a real poverty-to-success story.

President Obama had said he was looking for someone with empathy to sit on the high court.

On Tuesday he nominated 2nd Circuit Appeals Judge Sonia Sotomayor.

Acknowledging that it wasn't just her Princeton-Yale pedigree but her personal story that swayed him.

"It doesn't matter where you come from, what you look like, what challenges are thrown your way -- no dream is beyond reach in America," said the President.

Sotomayor grew up in a Bronx housing project. 

She worked as a New York prosecutor and corporate attorney before being appointed to the federal bench by a republican president George H.W. Bush.

"I strive never to forget the real-world consequences of my decisions on individuals, business and government," Sotomayor told a group gathered at the White House.

As the first Hispanic nominee, she brings more judicial experience than anyone currently on the court.

But conservatives call her a "intellectual lightweight"

And point to a 2005 speech now on YouTube as evidence that she's a "judicial activist"

In the clip Sotomayer said, "Court of Appeals is where policy is made..."

"My guess is that every aspect of the life of a nominee is going to be scrutinized and I expect there will be some very interesting hearings," said democratic Senator Byron Dorgan of north Dakota.

President Obama hopes she'll be confirmed before court resumes in October.

Republican Senator John Cornyn, who's on the committee that will hold confirmation hearings, said it's important not to pre-judge Sotomayor.

The head of the Republican National Committee said he's reserving judgment until there's a 'thoughtful' examination of her legal views.
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