The U.S. Senate confirmed Judge Sonia Sotomayor on August 6, making her the first Hispanic Supreme Court justice. She will be the 111th person to sit on the High Court and the third female justice.
Sotomayor, a 55-year-old federal appeals court judge, was confirmed in a 68-31 vote. Nine Republicans supported her nomination, along with a unanimous Democratic caucus. The supporting Republican senators included Ohio’s George Voinovich, Maine’s Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, New Hampshire’s Judd Gregg, Indiana’s Richard Lugar, Missouri’s Kit Bond, Florida’s Mel Martinez, South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham and Tennessee’s Lamar Alexander, CNN reported.
During the final day of debate over Sotomayor’s nomination, Democrats continued to praise her as a fair and impartial jurist, reported CNN, while many Republicans portrayed her as a judicial activist who reinterprets the law to coincide with her own liberal political beliefs.
Many women’s rights groups are applauding Sotomayor’s confirmation. The National Council of Jewish Women, for instance, says: “Judge Sotomayor is an eminent jurist with broad experience in the public and private sector, as well as on the federal bench. She has demonstrated a strong commitment to the core constitutional values of liberty, equality and justice . . . The strong bipartisan vote in her favor is a tribute to her record of even-handed jurisprudence.”
Sotomayor will be sworn in at the Supreme Court by Chief Justice John Roberts on August 8.
More News to Cheer This Week:
- American journalists Euna Lee and Laura Ling returned to the U.S. on August 5 after they were pardoned by North Korean leader Kim Jong II. Their pardon followed former President Bill Clinton’s visit to North Korea, where he negotiated the journalists’ release. The two women were arrested in March near the North Korean border with China while reporting on human trafficking for former Vice President Al Gore’s Current TV cable channel. In June, the North Korean regime sentenced the journalists to 12 years of hard labor for illegally entering the country.
- The Washington Post removed a sexist video from their Web site this week in response to protest from women’s organizations, including the Women’s Media Center and Women, Action and the Media. The satirical video, which featured reporters Dana Milbank and Chris Cillizza, made a reference to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton drinking a “Mad Bitch” beer. On August 5, the Washington Post’s executive editor Marcus Brauchli also pulled the plug on the entire video series, called “Mouthpiece Theater,” responding to the criticism. Both reporters have also apologized.