Sonia Sotomayor Biography

Sonia Sotomayor Sonia Sotomayor Biography

Claim to Fame:
Federal Judge on the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit; nominated by President Barack Obama for appointment to the US Supreme Court
DOB: June 25, 1954
Diabetes Type: 1

There has been a lot of hype and a great deal of controversy about Sonia Sotomayor, the first Hispanic nominee to the high court. Not only has she had an impressive career in law and justice, she has also had an extraordinary journey in life. Born on June 25, 1954 to Puerto Rican parents, Celina and Juan, Sotomayor grew up in an ethnically diverse neighborhood in the Bronx, NY. Her father died when Sonia was only 9, a year after she was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Her mother was therefore primarily responsible for raising her two children on a nurse’s salary. Sotomayor had an interest in law from a very early age and grew up reading Nancy Drew and watching Perry Mason during her childhood years.

She attended Princeton University from 1972 to 1976 where she studied history and graduated summa cum laude with an A.B. While at Princeton, she was a passionate advocate for minorities and displayed a strong interest in her heritage. For instance, she was active in Accion Puertorriquena, a social and political center for Latino students. Sotomayor even helped design a course called "History and Politics of Puerto Rico," which she described as a framework for evaluating the U.S. territory's problems. After earning her degree from Princeton, Sotomayor went on to attend law school at Yale. As she had done at Princeton, Sotomayor also found ways to engage in advocacy at Yale. During her time there, she was also the editor of the Yale Law Journal.

Upon graduating from Yale Law School in 1979 with a J.D., Sonia Sotomayor decided to work as an assistant to district attorney Robert Morgenthau in Manhattan. Five years later in 1984, Sotomayor moved into private practice as an attorney with a firm specializing in business cases.

Sotomayor continued to make a big name for herself when she was nominated to the US District Court for the Southern District of New York by former president George H.W. Bush in 1991. She was confirmed shortly thereafter in 1992. She was then nominated by Bill Clinton to the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in 1997 and joined in 1998. After roughly 400 rulings from the federal bench, Sotomayor was nominated by President Barack Obama on May 26, 2009 for appointment to the US Supreme Court to replace retiring Justice David Souter. Sonia Sotomayor is now poised to go to Washington if the U.S. Senate confirms her, making her the first Latina on the Supreme Court.

Sotomayor was married on August 14, 1976 to Kevin Edward Noonan, but divorced seven years later in 1983. The couple had no children.

Find more famous political figures with diabetes.

Last Modified Date: November 28, 2012

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