The Honorable Sonia Sotomayor

Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States; third woman and first justice of Hispanic heritage to hold this position. Former Assistant District Attorney in the New York County District Attorney’s office. Former U.S. District Court Judge at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Former Circuit Judge at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

As the Supreme Court’s first Hispanic Justice and its third female Justice, Sonia Sotomayor is a trailblazer. Sotomayor hails from the Bronx and graduated with honors from Princeton University before attending Yale Law School. Upon graduation, she began work as an assistant district attorney in New York and subsequently moved into private practice. In 1991, Sotomayor was nominated to serve on the Southern District Court of New York, where she gained attention for saving Major League Baseball from its 1995 strike.  She sat on the S.D.N.Y. until her nomination to the Second Circuit in 1997, where she served until becoming a member of the Supreme Court in 2009.

In the words of the HLS community member who nominated her, I could go on at length, yet none of these accolades fully explains why Sotomayor inspires me. I look to Sotomayor not only because of what she has done, but also because of her willingness to be vulnerable and to admit that — despite six years on the Court — she still does not feel like she belongs. Too often, women seem to feel that they must be stoic in order to be perceived as strong. To me, it is Sotomayor’s courage in sharing her lived experience, warts and all, that displays true strength.”