This is IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English.
This week, President Obama announced his
choice for an opening on the Supreme Court.
BARACK OBAMA: "I have decided to nominate an
inspiring woman who I believe will make a great justice, Judge Sonia Sotomayor
of the great state of New York."
SONIA SOTOMAYOR: "I firmly believe in the rule of
law as the foundation for all of our basic rights. I strive never to forget the
real world consequences of my decisions on individuals, businesses and
Sonia Sotomayor is a federal appeals judge. If
confirmed, she would be the first Hispanic on the nation's highest court. She
would be the second woman among the nine justices, joining Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
And she would be only the third woman ever to serve on the Supreme Court. Justices have lifetime appointments.
next step is to prepare for Senate confirmation hearings. Senators are expected
to question her about a comment she made at a law school in two thousand five.
SONIA SOTOMAYOR: "The court of appeals is where
policy is made, and I know this is on tape and I should never say that because
we don't make law. I know, I know. I'm not promoting it and I'm not advocating
it. I'm, you know ... "
critics say legislators and other elected leaders are the only ones who should
make policy. Another comment, involving ethnicity, has also angered
conservatives. Some Republicans have argued that Sonia Sotomayor is too liberal
for the Supreme Court. They say she could be an "activist judge" who
will let personal feelings and political beliefs influence her rulings.
Democrats say her record shows that she is a moderate.
In any case, Democrats hold a strong majority in the Senate. So, barring any
unexpected problems, her chances for confirmation seem strong.
Republicans say they will demand a serious look at her
many legal decisions. But political observers point out that Republicans may
worry about offending Hispanics if they try to block her nomination. Hispanics
are now the nation's largest ethnic minority, and a fast growing group of
Obama is urging the Senate to confirm Judge Sotomayor by August. The new court
term begins in October. She would replace Justice David Souter who plans to
retire in June.
Sotomayor will be fifty-five in June. She was born in New York City to parents
from the American commonwealth of Puerto Rico. She grew up in a public housing
project in the South Bronx, one of the poorest areas of the city.
earned highest honors in history from Princeton University. Then she attended
law school at Yale University. She became a federal judge in New York in
nineteen ninety-two. The Senate approved her nomination by a Republican president,
the first George Bush. Then, six years later, the Senate confirmed her
appointment to the appeals court by a Democrat, President Bill Clinton.
newest appointment is not expected to change the political balance of the
Supreme Court. Five of the nine current justices -- a majority -- are more
conservative than liberal. Judge Sotomayor would replace a justice who has
generally voted with the liberal minority.
And that's IN THE NEWS in VOA Special
English. I'm Steve Ember.