Sonia Sotomayor, formerly a federal appeals judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit based in New York City, was nominated by President Barack Obama on May 26, 2009, to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States. Her nomination was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on August 6, 2009, by a vote of 68-31, and she was sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts on August 8. Sotomayor's confirmation replaces Justice David Souter, who is retiring, and makes her the Court's first Hispanic justice and its third female justice.
Sotomayor is of Puerto Rican descent: her parents came to New York from Puerto Rico during World War II. She was born in the Bronx and grew up in a public housing project. Her father passed away when she was nine years old, and she and her younger brother were raised by her mother. At the age of eight, Sotomayor was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, which still requires her to monitor her blood sugar and inject herself on a regular basis with insulin. She studied history at Princeton on a full scholarship and graduated in 1976 with highest honors. Soon after graduating, Sotomayor married her high school sweetheart Kevin Edward Noonan, who became a biologist and a patent lawyer. Sotomayor continued with her education, attending law school at Yale, where she was an editor of the Yale Law Journal. She received her law degree in 1979 and was admitted to the New York Bar in 1980. In 1983, she and her husband divorced; they have no children together.
In 1991, after spending time as a public prosecuter and dabbling in private practice, Sotomayor was nominated by President George H.W. Bush to a seat on the Southern District of New York. She was confirmed in 1992 with the unanimous consent of the U.S. Senate. Sotomayor left the Southern District of New York in 1998, after then-President Bill Clinton's nomination to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals was approved. Her nomination to the Supreme Court bench is pending Congressional approval.
"I am an ordinary person... blessed with extraordinary opportunities," Sotomayor has said.