Sotomayor Announcement - Live Blog

President Obama will begin the announcement of Judge Sonia Sotomayor's nomination to the Supreme Court any moment. I'll do some live-blogging of his remarks.

Obama enters with Joe Biden and Sonia Sotomayor who is smiling very broadly (who wouldn't be?)

Few of a president's responsibilities are more serious than selecting a supreme court justice. I don't take this decision lightly. It was made after careful deliberation. Qualities needed: Rigorous intellect, mastery of the law, ability to hone in on issues. Recognition of limits of judge's role. Commitment to impartial justice, not to make law but interpret it. But we need more: [More...]

But that's not enough. We need someone with life experience. I've decided to nominate Judge Sonia Sotomayor. An inspiring woman who will make an oustanding justice.

Over a three decade career, she has worked at almost every level of our judiciary system. Her experience will be invaluable.

She was nominated by Republican George H. Bush to the District Court and Democrat Bill Clinton to the Court of Appeals.

She will bring more experience to the bench than any other Supreme Court justice had when they were appointed.

She will be the only current Justice with trial judge experience. Souter had it too.

On District Court, she presided over 450 decisions. He talks about a baseball decision in 1999 and says some say she helped save baseball.

Moves to her personal journey. Her mother and brother (a doctor) is there. She's from Puerto Rico. Her father was a factory worker. A family tradition of giving back.

Her father died when she was 9. Her mother worked 6 days a week as a nurse. With scholarships, she went to Princeton and was top of her class. She went on to Yale Law School where she was editor of the law review.

She became interested in the law from reading Nancy Drew. She was dignosed with diabetes when she was 8.

She has shown that no dream is beyond reach. When she walks up the steps, America will take another step towards "equal justice under the law."

He asks for quick confirmation and introduces her to say a few words.

It's not possible not to thank everyone who got her here. This is the most humbling honor of her life. She talks about the many who guided her and helped her realize her dream. Her heart today is "bursting with gratitude" for all they have done for her. Her doctor, sister in law, niece, twin nephews.

Gives special thanks to her mother for her support. "I am all I am because of her and I am only half the woman she is."

Thanks her stepfather and says she loves and thanks him.

She firmly believes in the rule of law as the foundation for our rights. She has always been inspired by our founding fathers. The principles are as relevant in each generation as the generation before.

She was a prosecutor bringing violent crime cases and then went to a law firm.

She appreciates the honor. She looks forward to working with Senate in confirmation process. "I hope that as they learn more about me they will see I am an ordinary person blessed with extraordinary opportunities."

The end.

Update: Reactions: Jeff Toobin on CNN says the setting (Biden, Obama and Sotomayor) was striking: it is the face of the New America.

Suzanne Malveaux says there wasn't a dry eye in the audience when she talked about her family.

Update: Toobin said she has no death penalty experience because New York has no death penalty. But, I don't think that's accurate. The feds have the death penalty, even in New York. Here's one ruling she made in 1999 -- allowing a death case against a leader of the Latin Kings gang to proceed.

Update: A New York Times article from 1999 on her confirmation hearing to the Second Circuit. Among the fears of Republicans: Clinton would nominate her to the Supreme Court.

< Judge Sotomayor's Legal Opinions | Supreme Court Overturns Michigan v.Jackson on Questioning Suspects Without Lawyer >
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  • Display: Sort:
    You know what (5.00 / 5) (#1)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue May 26, 2009 at 09:14:42 AM EST
    I can't help it. Choking up a little.

    Yeah, there is a personal reaction.

    Aw. (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Dr Molly on Tue May 26, 2009 at 09:21:13 AM EST
    I can understand that.

    I must say, her life story is really compelling.


    I am totally overdosed (none / 0) (#30)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue May 26, 2009 at 09:56:52 AM EST
    on compelling life stories and I'd happily live the rest of my life without hearing another one from an appointee or candidate.

    I reached my limit with Condi's compelling life story at the 2000 Goper convention.


    Me too (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by Jjc2008 on Tue May 26, 2009 at 10:50:19 AM EST
    I can really identify with her.....

    I know how you feel BTD (none / 0) (#65)
    by aeguy on Tue May 26, 2009 at 02:40:12 PM EST
    I'm inspired. I can identify with her.

    Pet peeve (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by lobary on Tue May 26, 2009 at 09:19:10 AM EST
    Obama says that judges must interpret the law, not make the law.

    Nonsense. He knows better. Judges have "made law" since they were riding around from village to village on horseback.


    By interpretation (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue May 26, 2009 at 09:20:46 AM EST
    But of course, you are right. It is the fiction we must all engage in apparently.

    Fiction, indeed. (none / 0) (#37)
    by lobary on Tue May 26, 2009 at 10:03:57 AM EST
    And a destructive one, too.

    I just watched an exchange between CNN yappers Heidi Collins and Suzanne Malveaux that provides an instructive example of how this intellectual dishonesty infects the public debate about the role judges play in making law.

    My rough transcription of their exchange:

    Collins: I thought it was interesting too, how right out of the gate President Obama said she would be there to interpret the law....and how that fits in with some of these questions that are coming up about the panel discussion she was involved in at Duke University.

    Malveaux: Obviously that's one thing they realize is going to come up, whether or not in her previous rulings she went over the line, crossed the line. We're going to take a look at affirmative action cases and see what went into her thinking, her past statements that she's made....being a female, being a Latina....people are going to take a close look at that and say "Is she making law, or is she interpreting law?" The President is obviously trying to get ahead of that, get out of that and shape that debate."

    Indeed (none / 0) (#22)
    by eric on Tue May 26, 2009 at 09:49:23 AM EST
    who would have thought Americans were such fans of the Civil Legal System as opposed to the Common Law?

    Great comment by Sotomayor (5.00 / 4) (#10)
    by lobary on Tue May 26, 2009 at 09:33:40 AM EST
    "I strive never to forget the real world consequences of my decisions on individuals, businesses, and government."

    Oh those activist judges!

    Empathy! (none / 0) (#52)
    by ruffian on Tue May 26, 2009 at 10:46:54 AM EST
    Sound the alarm!

    Seriously this was a great surprise to find when I finally got to check news a few minutes ago. I'm very pleased.


    Turley engages in base racism (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue May 26, 2009 at 09:37:56 AM EST
    on MSNBC.

    What a tool.

    Toobin is more interesting on CNN (5.00 / 0) (#13)
    by andgarden on Tue May 26, 2009 at 09:39:28 AM EST
    What does he have to say? (none / 0) (#20)
    by oculus on Tue May 26, 2009 at 09:47:26 AM EST
    Has Rosen appeared on TV this morning?

    Toobin sez (none / 0) (#33)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue May 26, 2009 at 09:59:42 AM EST
    she doesn't have the "intellectual firepower" to rein in Alito's dominance.  Also sez she has no death penalty experience, which is simply wrong.

    Typical Toobin mixture of somebody's talking points and incorrect facts.


    I heard that too (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by Jjc2008 on Tue May 26, 2009 at 10:52:07 AM EST
    but it was from Turley on MSNBC....
    I did not like what he said and while I agree with Turley on some things, I felt a tinge of paternalistic sexism on his part.

    Alito's dominance? (none / 0) (#34)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue May 26, 2009 at 10:01:27 AM EST
    Say what?

    Sorry, meant Scalia! (none / 0) (#43)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue May 26, 2009 at 10:31:50 AM EST
    Not enough coffee in the system yet (I work nights!)

    And fwiw, "dominance" was my ill-chosen word, not Toobin's.


    Scalia dominates nothing (none / 0) (#45)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue May 26, 2009 at 10:34:36 AM EST
    Silly thing to say.

    Scalia dominates the casebooks (none / 0) (#57)
    by Steve M on Tue May 26, 2009 at 11:00:19 AM EST
    but his obvious failings as a coalition builder leave one puzzled as to why he would need to be reined in.

    The Second Circuit is hardly composed of intellectual lightweights or shrinking violets, by the way.  Hard to imagine that Sotomayor won't be just fine on the high court.


    The tug-of-war (5.00 / 1) (#62)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue May 26, 2009 at 01:26:07 PM EST
    is over Kennedy's vote.

    Guess I missed that part. . . (none / 0) (#36)
    by andgarden on Tue May 26, 2009 at 10:03:47 AM EST
    I'm sure I won't agree with all of her decisions (5.00 / 2) (#24)
    by kempis on Tue May 26, 2009 at 09:50:11 AM EST
    but she is certainly an inspiring and likable woman. (I'm blubbering over her beautiful remarks about her mother.)

    And her presence in a seat of power, like Obama's, is inspiring to a lot of young non-white people in this country. Certainly, her experience and qualifications matter most, and she appears to more than make the grade, but intangibles matter, too.

    And (5.00 / 4) (#28)
    by Democratic Cat on Tue May 26, 2009 at 09:54:28 AM EST
    "her presence in a seat of power, like Obama's, is inspiring to a lot of young non-white people in this country."

    And women and girls too.


    yep--and working class folks, too :) (none / 0) (#42)
    by kempis on Tue May 26, 2009 at 10:30:26 AM EST
    Great choice! (5.00 / 0) (#64)
    by MKS on Tue May 26, 2009 at 02:25:06 PM EST
    Obama did not hold back.....He went for the real deal, no compromises....

    Brining Biden along with (none / 0) (#2)
    by andgarden on Tue May 26, 2009 at 09:15:54 AM EST
    was probably a good call.

    Why? (none / 0) (#12)
    by samtaylor2 on Tue May 26, 2009 at 09:39:03 AM EST
    On top of the fact (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by andgarden on Tue May 26, 2009 at 09:40:31 AM EST
    that he's a former Judiciary Cmte chair, they probably figured that they needed a white guy in the picture.

    To be fair (none / 0) (#15)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue May 26, 2009 at 09:41:52 AM EST
    I believe it is customary for the Vice President to be there.

    Really? (none / 0) (#16)
    by andgarden on Tue May 26, 2009 at 09:42:39 AM EST
    I don't remember that from Alito or Roberts.

    Either way, he isn't exactly out of place.


    Cheney is really scary :) (none / 0) (#17)
    by samtaylor2 on Tue May 26, 2009 at 09:45:04 AM EST
    He The 3 of them standing there did look very good.

    Cheney was there (none / 0) (#18)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue May 26, 2009 at 09:45:17 AM EST
    if I recall correctly.

    My first thought was that the VP (none / 0) (#19)
    by oculus on Tue May 26, 2009 at 09:46:14 AM EST
    is there because Judge Sotomayor doesn't have an adoring spouse to stand by her side.

    I was thinking that it was an historic (5.00 / 2) (#29)
    by Anne on Tue May 26, 2009 at 09:56:48 AM EST
    moment, and anyone who could possibly be in the room for the announcement got him- or herself there.

    Biden may also be the one charged with shepherding Sotomayor through the nomination process, taking her around to the various Senate offices, etc.

    Am most interested to hear her views on executive power, and am looking forward to her taking some of the more odious members of the Senate down an intellectual peg or two - I think it's about time.


    Schumer would do that (none / 0) (#32)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue May 26, 2009 at 09:57:25 AM EST

    Biden leaned over during the (none / 0) (#47)
    by oculus on Tue May 26, 2009 at 10:34:53 AM EST
    standing ovation b/4 the ;udge spoke abd sd. "They really like you."

    Nobody can get anything past Biden... (none / 0) (#48)
    by lilburro on Tue May 26, 2009 at 10:36:00 AM EST

    It was just Bush and Alito (none / 0) (#26)
    by eric on Tue May 26, 2009 at 09:52:41 AM EST
    in 2005:



    He will (none / 0) (#21)
    by jbindc on Tue May 26, 2009 at 09:48:04 AM EST
    probably be responsible for shepherding this nomination through

    Mebbe (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue May 26, 2009 at 09:49:50 AM EST
    Doubt it will need much shepharding.

    Only blatant racism can be used against her imo.

    She is clearly qualified.


    "Up or down, yes or no." :-D (none / 0) (#27)
    by andgarden on Tue May 26, 2009 at 09:53:46 AM EST
    70-30 (none / 0) (#31)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue May 26, 2009 at 09:57:00 AM EST
    Something like that.

    I am interested in your opinon (none / 0) (#35)
    by samtaylor2 on Tue May 26, 2009 at 10:03:37 AM EST
    On how this helps (or doesn't) with latino voters.  Is there a connection (outside of language) between Puerto Ricans and Mexicans?  

    Well (5.00 / 0) (#38)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue May 26, 2009 at 10:07:23 AM EST
    I can only speak for me, and it is meaningful to me personally.

    Yes, I can be tugged at emotionally too.


    I envy that (none / 0) (#56)
    by Jjc2008 on Tue May 26, 2009 at 10:54:17 AM EST
    Unfortunately the first supremes of Italian heritage are right wing extremists...they may as well picked Mussolini..

    Mebbe (none / 0) (#39)
    by jbindc on Tue May 26, 2009 at 10:09:41 AM EST
    This is a way of controlling Joe's mouth, so he isn't saying something off the cuff at the same time as the announcement.  <snark>

    As former Judiciary Committee Chair (none / 0) (#25)
    by rdandrea on Tue May 26, 2009 at 09:50:37 AM EST
    Biden will probably be the "point man" on getting her confirmed.

    A great choice (none / 0) (#3)
    by DancingOpossum on Tue May 26, 2009 at 09:16:48 AM EST
    I think. SHe is brilliant. And on a personal note my Mexican side is a lil' choked up too.

    "applying those principles (none / 0) (#8)
    by andgarden on Tue May 26, 2009 at 09:30:24 AM EST
    to the questions and controversies we face today."

    Sounds about right. Except for the "Constitution in exile" folks.

    Good to have a NY'er on there... (none / 0) (#9)
    by kdog on Tue May 26, 2009 at 09:33:24 AM EST
    Odds are good she has the street smarts to go with the obvious book smarts...we need that on the highest court.

    Yes, a Bronx girl to boot! (5.00 / 0) (#41)
    by Lil on Tue May 26, 2009 at 10:16:56 AM EST
    I'm so happy that this day has come and we have a Dem in the WH! My Puerto Rican colleagues from the Bronx are so happy too.

    Can anyone tell me why Al Sharpton (none / 0) (#40)
    by Radiowalla on Tue May 26, 2009 at 10:12:37 AM EST
    was in the audience?

    I can't figure that one.   I'm sure Fox News will find deep meaning in it.

    Sharpton (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by Jeralyn on Tue May 26, 2009 at 10:38:06 AM EST
    Why shouldn't he be there? Here's his comments.

    He called her selection by the president "prudent, groundbreaking and the right choice at this time in our nation's history as we face serious constitutional and legal questions that will impact the lives of Americans for decades to come," adding:

        "For those of us who are not Latino, we should not be weighed down by the distraction of demographics or ethnicity. Instead we must rise to the challenge that President Obama has issued to put merit, judgment, and service above tribal cheerleading."

        "As one who has labored for Black, Brown and White coalitions that fight to protect the equal rights of all under our laws and Constitution, I am happy to have been present for this historic announcement of the first Latino to the Supreme Court, and know she will serve all of us with integrity and distinction."

    Because the optics are really bad (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by andgarden on Tue May 26, 2009 at 10:40:09 AM EST
    Rightly or wrongly, Sharpton is seen as a very divisive figure.

    In any case, his presence probably won't matter this time.


    Sharpton has turned himself (5.00 / 1) (#59)
    by Radiowalla on Tue May 26, 2009 at 11:19:56 AM EST
    into a first-class stooge and his presence does nothing to enhance the seriousness or dignity of any occasion.

    They (it might have even been me as (none / 0) (#58)
    by tigercourse on Tue May 26, 2009 at 11:10:11 AM EST
    well) said the same thing when Sharpton stood next to Obama at the nomination or something. No one really cared.

    Probably because (none / 0) (#44)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue May 26, 2009 at 10:33:13 AM EST
    she's from the Bronx.

    Is he an elected official from the Bronx? (none / 0) (#46)
    by Radiowalla on Tue May 26, 2009 at 10:34:52 AM EST
    I thought this (none / 0) (#51)
    by lilburro on Tue May 26, 2009 at 10:42:31 AM EST
    was an interesting article on the framing of Obama's SC nomination process:  "Nothing More Than Feelings."  Thesis:  

    "But the more we freight the conversation with suggestions that women are fundamentally different, more sensitive, or more compassionate than men, the more likely it is that a woman nominee will be subject to a sexist double standard later."

    Great pick (none / 0) (#53)
    by Dadler on Tue May 26, 2009 at 10:48:29 AM EST
    Too bad Obama can't be this bold when he has to deal with more than an individual choice for a post.  There's still time for him to wake up, but that assumes he wants to.

    We'll have a much better SCOTUS.  Now if we could just have a much less politically timid president.  Oh wait, he's post-politics, I forgot.

    Congrats to Sotomayor.

    Here is the opposing view (none / 0) (#60)
    by Slado on Tue May 26, 2009 at 11:21:16 AM EST
    for what it's worth...  


    Liberal criticims

    it's worth very little (5.00 / 0) (#63)
    by Jeralyn on Tue May 26, 2009 at 02:10:48 PM EST
    Rosen has been debunked time and again.

    Oh deere lowered (none / 0) (#61)
    by lobary on Tue May 26, 2009 at 12:00:56 PM EST
    Jeffrey Rosen's vapid attack on Sotomayor has been addressed numerous times across the liberal web, including here at Talkleft.

    When pundits claim that seeing the faces of (none / 0) (#66)
    by Militarytracy on Tue May 26, 2009 at 06:47:32 PM EST
    Obama, Biden, and Sotomayor together on the screen is the face of the new America.......obviously affirmative action has not run its useful course yet.  I didn't get to watch much of this today because my daughter had her nasal bone repaired today, but what I did get to see I got real tired of hearing about the fact that she is a woman and Latino.  The only reason why I got tired of hearing it was because with Roberts and Alito, being white and male was the default setting for normality and it became all about their "credentials" which seemed a bit lacking when compared to Sotomayor.  TIRESOME!!!