Even before it was known that the president would nominate a woman, Sotomayor was an early front-runner and the target of personal attacks. Once she became the nominee her previous rulings, public statements, and law school lectures all came under scrutiny. Both supporters and opponents sought clues indicating how she might vote on such issues as abortion and affirmative action.
Although most political observers knew she had enough votes for confirmation, the racism and sexism that surfaced, along with partisan pressure to vote against her, shadowed the entire process.
Prior to the Nomination
- "If Obama Chooses a Woman For the Supreme Court"
Early speculation about Sotomayor as front-runner and whether or not she had the credentials.
- "When Gossip is Journalism"
A controversial article in the New Republic relied on uncredited sources and unsubstantiated rumors to question Sotomayor's qualifications.
- "Gender Bias Disrobed -- Too 'Overweight' To Be a Nominee?"
A non-issue for previous male candidates, the weight and physical characteristics of Sotomayor and another potential female nominee were criticized early on.
Obama's Historic Choice
- "Sonia Sotomayor Nominated to the Supreme Court"
President Obama's decision could put the Court's third woman and first Hispanic justice on the bench in the fall of 2009.
- "Why Did Obama Pick Sotomayor?"
Gender and race aside, Sotomayor brought more federal judicial experience than any Supreme Court justice in the past century.
Controversy Surrounding the Nomination
- "The 'Racist' Uproar Over Sotomayor's 'Wise Latina' Comment"
Sotomayor's statement, called 'racist' by some right-wing conservatives, was taken out of context from a speech in which she questions whether or not any judge can completely leave behind race, gender and other life experiences while on the bench.
- "Sotomayor's Word Choices, Then and Now"
President Obama weighed in on her previous statements as Sotomayor prepared for the initial round of 'courtesy calls' to those senators who would determine her fate during Senate confirmation hearings.
Prior to the Confirmation Process
- "Sotomayor Resigns From All-Female Club"
Already under scrutiny for previous statements, Sotomayor's membership in the all-female Belizean Grove had some senators questioning whether or not this violated judicial ethics. To avert further suggestions of impropriety, the nominee resigned from the organization.
- "Supreme Court Overturns Sotomayor's Ruling on Firefighters"
Sotomayor's ruling in a controversial case involving a group of Hartford, CT firefighters has often been cited by her opponents as evidence of bias. So the Supreme Court's deciion to overturn the lower court's ruling added fuel to the fire.
- "Sotomayor in Context, from Controversial Comment to Hartford Firefighters"
An analysis of the circumstances surrounding the Hartford firefighter's case and the perils of taking Sotomayor's words and actions out of the context in which they occurred.
- "More Women on the Court - Justice Ginsburg Wants Another Female Perspective"
In a telling interview, the Supreme Court's lone female justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, shares her perspective on why the court needs greater diversity, including more women on the bench.
Senate Judiciary Committee Hearings
- "Racist & Sexist Coverage Precede Sotomayor Confirmation Hearings"
Going into the Senate committee hearings, Sotomayor was already burdened by media coverage that all too often played up her ethnicity and gender and disregarded her legal credentials.
- "Live Blogging and Transcripts of Testimony"
Links to daily coverage of the Sotomayor Senate Judiciary Committee hearing including live blogging and full trancripts of the day' proceedings.
- "Female Columnists on the Sotomayor Hearings"
Did Sotomayor get a fair hearing? Not according to the leading women op-ed writers who saw a great deal of gender bias on display.
Historic Confirmation of Sotomayor
- "Senate Judiciary Committee Votes in Favor of Sotomayor Nomination"
In a vote that split along party lines, the committee approved of the Sotomayor nomination, sending it to the full Senate for further hearings and a final vote.
- "From the Political to the Personal - Significance of Sotomayor Confirmation"
Despite strong partisanship, a handful of Republican Senators voted to confirm Sotomayor as Associate Justice. And the historic act of putting the third woman and first Hispanic on the Supreme Court has changed the lives of Hispanics across the country and the daughter of one prominent Latina journalist.
Her Impact on the Supreme Court
- "Her Day in Court - Sotomayor Begins First Term on Supreme Court"
Although legal analysts are divided as to whether she'll move the Supreme Court right, left, or have little impact, Sotomayor's certainly changing the dynamic of "The Nine" by doubling the presence of women. And like her predecessor Ruth Bader Ginsburg, will she indulge in small touches of femininity such as wearing a lace collar?.