August 10, 2009 10:42
Sonia Sotomayor has been sworn in as the first Hispanic justice in the 220-year history of the U.S. Supreme Court. The oath was administered by Chief Justice John Roberts.
Sonia Sotomayor, the daughter of Puerto Rican parents, who grew up in public housing in the New York City borough of the Bronx, is the newest justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.
In addition to being the first ethnic Hispanic on the Supreme Court, Sotomayor is the third woman justice, and the first justice appointed by President Barack Obama.
Justice Sotomayor officially begins her new job when the high court's next session begins on October 5, although some arguments will be heard before then. She is not expected to change the ideological balance of the Court. She replaces the recently-retired David Souter, who was appointed by a Republican president but usually voted with the court's liberal justices.
As the least-senior justice, Sotomayor will be responsible for taking notes in the justices' private meetings and reporting the decisions to the court clerk. She will also go last when the nine justices vote on cases. At 55, Sotomayor is the second-youngest justice, several months older than Chief Justice Roberts.
She is the third New York City native on the court, along with Ruth Bader Ginsburg, from the borough of Brooklyn, and Antonin Scalia, from Queens.
The public swearing-in, which took place in an ornate conference room at the Supreme Court, was the second of two oaths Sotomayor took Saturday. She was also sworn in privately a few minutes earlier. For the public oath, she was joined by her mother and brother, as well as other relatives and friends.
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