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Sotomayor Confirmed as New U.S. Supreme Court Justice l What Can We Expect?

Justice Sonia Sotomayor was confirmed by the U.S. Senate yesterday clearing the last real hurdle to taking a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court.  She will join Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as the second woman on the bench.  So what influence on the court can we expect from Sotomayor?

Sotomayor will be the first Hispanic and diabetic justice on the court.  A diabetic since childhood she takes daily insulin shots to manage her disability.  She grew up poor in an inner city housing project and is not a wealthy person now.  She is a divorcee without any children but a close extended family.  All agree she is extremely intelligent, graduated 1st in her class from Princeton, and recently was a law professor at UNLV. 

So what does her background tells about future rulings?  Well, it's not hard to guess that the ADA definition of "disability" may get a more broad interpretation than it has now.  She lives with a daily disability and knows what it's like to make your way through life with limits other people may not experience.  She calls herself an affirmative action baby, and we can expect her to find affirmative action is a good law worthy of continuing.  As a member of a minority there may also be an opportunity to influence racial employment related laws, where I would expect to see opinions for expanding or confirming current protections for minorities.

The confirmation hearings have touched very little on her actual viewpoints regarding some hot button issues in the news.  Abortion views are always a hot button issue and I would be shocked if Sotomayor was not a pro-choice supporter.  However, if she turns out to be pro-life, we could see Rowe v. Wade go down in flames.  Many people will be waiting on pins and needles for this one.

Sotomayor should be sworn in in September.  It will be interesting to see how the U.S. Supreme Court shapes up with Sotomayor in the mix.
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