March is Women’s History Month! – Sonya Sotomayor
In honor of Women’s History Month, The Elder Law Center of Kirson & Fuller is proud to feature women that have impacted the nation through jurisprudence.
As the first Supreme Court Justice of Hispanic descent, as well as the first Latina appointed to the bench, Sonya Sotomayor has broken numerous barriers for women lawyers. Born to Puerto Rican parents in Bronx, New York on June 25, 1954, Sotomayor entered Princeton University on a full scholarship, earning her B.A. and graduating summa cum laude. She then obtained her JD from Yale Law in 1979 and worked as an assistant district attorney in New York, before entering private practice in 1984. In the courtroom, she was effective at cross examination and simplifying a case in ways to which a jury could relate.
“My job as a prosecutor is to do justice. And justice is served when a guilty man is convicted and an innocent man is not” – Sonya Sotomayor.
In 1991 Sotomayor was nominated for the United States District Court, Southern District of New York by President George H. W. She served six years before being nominated for the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, by President Bill Clinton. In 2009, President Barack Obama then nominated Sotomayor to fill a vacated seat on the Supreme Court. During her tenure she has become known as one of the strongest voices supporting the rights of the accused. Fighting for protection of affirmative action programs and pushing to reform criminal justice adjudication – in particular as it relates to the misconduct of police officers and prosecutors, abuses in prisons, concerns about how the death penalty is used, and the potential for loss of privacy. Amongst her list of landmark cases, in 2015 Sotomayor joined the liberal majority on Obergefell v. Hodges to legalize same sex marriages in all 50 states.
Sources: National Law Review / Supremecourt.gov / Oyez