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Sonia Sotomayor ’79 Nominated to U.S. Supreme Court

President Obama today nominated federal appeals court judge Sonia Sotomayor ’79 for the seat on the U.S. Supreme Court being vacated by retiring Justice David H. Souter. Sotomayor has served as a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit since October 1998. She previously served as a federal judge for the Southern District of New York. If confirmed by the U.S Senate, she would be the Court’s first Hispanic justice and its third woman.

“Yale Law School is delighted to see one of its own distinguished alumni, Judge Sonia Sotomayor, nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court,” said Acting Dean Kate Stith, who has known Sotomayor for more than two decades and whose husband, Judge José A. Cabranes, serves with Judge Sotomayor on the Second Circuit. “We admire greatly and take special pride in her accomplishments. We have been fortunate that she has had continuing and deep involvement with the Law School—in conferences, moot courts, and guest appearances in classes—during her years on the bench. We congratulate Judge Sotomayor on this tremendous milestone in a remarkable career.”

“I have known Sonia Sotomayor since our days together in law school, and I have followed her career with fascination and delight,” said Stephen Carter ’79, William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law at Yale Law School. “She is a warm and wonderful human being, and a thoughtful and fair-minded jurist who will be an excellent addition to the Supreme Court.”

Judge Sotomayor graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University in 1976 and received her J.D. in 1979 from Yale Law School, where she was an editor of the Yale Law Journal and managing editor of the Yale Studies in World Public Order. In addition to her judicial service, Judge Sotomayor is a lecturer at Columbia University Law School and was also an adjunct professor at New York University School of Law until 2007.

Yale Law School Sterling Professor of Law Anthony Kronman '75, who taught Judge Sotomayor in 1979, said, “I remember Sonia with fondness and admiration from her student days, and my regard for her has only grown with the years as I have followed her remarkable career. Sonia joins heart and head in the way that every great judge must, and understands that wisdom in adjudication requires an abiding loyalty to established principles of law, understood and interpreted, as they necessarily must be, in the human context that gives the law its ultimate justification and aim.”

If confirmed, Judge Sotomayor would join two other Yale Law School graduates currently on the Court—Justice Clarence Thomas ’74 and Justice Samuel Alito ’75.

Click here for the remarks President Obama made in nominating Judge Sotomayor.

Click here for the Yale Law Journal link to the student Note Sonia Sotomayor published in Volume 88 of the JournalStatehood and the Equal Footing Doctrine: The Case for Puerto Rican Seabed Rights.