Sotomayor Confirmed, Community Reacts

By: Alice Barr
By: Alice Barr

The senate approves the newest member to the U.S. Supreme Court. Sonia Sotomayor is the first Hispanic justice.

The senate confirmed Sotomayor Thursday in a 68 to 31 vote. Sotomayor becomes the 111th justice and just the third woman to serve on the Supreme Court. Nine Republicans crossed over to vote for Sotomayor. This is President Obama's first high court nominee.

Sotomayor's confirmation is sparking plenty of excitement in the Hispanic community. We spoke to several Hispanic women across our community. They especially are feeling proud of the high court's newest justice and hopeful her accomplishments will raise the bar for what all Hispanics believe they can achieve.

"Having Sotomayor over there in the Supreme Court, it makes me feel that the Hispanics have more chances to get higher in their life and have more hopes. Probably a Hispanic can also get to be a president," says Rockford resident Jessica Montaleza.

Employees at Los Portales restaurant in downtown Rockford had similar comments. One woman added she's hopeful Sotomayor's confirmation will draw together the Stateline Hispanic community, which she says lacks solidarity now.

As for Sotomayor's impact on the court 23 News political analyst John McNamara does not believe she will be as liberal as some Republicans fear. He says serving on the high court tends to temper justices.

"People who were thought to be very conservative when they were appointed, maybe that's why they passed, tend to be more liberal. Some of the more liberal ones tend to be drawing back into conservative. So I think for the first year or two you will see that she is really not causing any waves," says McNamara.

McNamara adds Sotomayor's cultural background and upbringing in a New York City housing project will influence her career. But he says that's the case for all of us and should be celebrated. He says no matter what, Sotomayor has a duty to follow the law and he believes she will do so.

McNamara also says Sotomayor brings more judicial experience than many past Supreme Court nominees. She served 17 years as a federal judge, giving Congress plenty of judicial decisions to analyze, before confirming her.

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