A Justice for All of Us
As one of two women Senators on the Judiciary Committee, I thought you would like a report about the Sotomayor hearings.
As only the third woman to sit as a Supreme Court nominee before the committee and the first ever Latina in that role, Judge Sotomayor is following in the footsteps of the trailblazing women who came before her -- two women who faced incredible obstacles. For Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, it was getting job offers only for positions for which she was overly qualified. For Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, it was getting passed over for a clerkship simply because she was a woman.
Sitting in the Judiciary Committee hearings, I couldn't help but think about what a historic moment we were witnessing. When one of my colleagues questioned whether Judge Sotomayor, would be a justice “for all of us, or just for some of us,” I remembered something that Hubert Humphrey once said: America is “all the richer for the many different and distinctive strands of which it is woven.”
Here before us sits another remarkable woman with an incredible personal story, and she now has the opportunity to be a Justice “for all of us.”
In addressing the committee, I emphasized that, for all justices, life experiences shaped the work they did on the Supreme Court. And for Judge Sotomayor, that includes an inspiring journey that began, in her own words, in “very modest and challenging circumstances.” But from those circumstances, Judge Sotomayor rose up and persevered. She went on to be the valedictorian of her high school class, to graduate at the top of her class in college and to attend law school.
As the hearings continue, there’s a great deal I’m interested to learn about Judge Sotomayor -- how her work has shaped her approach to judging, her views on criminal law issues, how she balances the text of statutes and the Constitution with pragmatic considerations based on her real-world experience.
Given her background and experiences, however, I already feel confident about one thing: that she will always remember that the cases she hears involve real people -- with real problems -- looking for real remedies. With excellent judgment and a sense of humility, I believe Sonia Sotomayor truly can be a justice “for all of us.”