Describing himself as ‘pleased and deeply gratified’ with the news that the US Senate voted to confirm Judge Sonia Sotomayor as the 111th Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, President Obama Thursday afternoon said that the Bronx-born judge exemplifies the nation’s tradition of justice, equality and opportunity, what he called “the very ideals that have made Judge Sotomayor’s own uniquely American journey possible” and ones “the Senate has upheld today in breaking yet another barrier and moving us yet another step closer to a more perfect union.”
Asked by a reporter if he was happy with the final vote tally of 68-31 in favor of the confirmation of the first Latina to be nominated to sit on the High Court, and only the third woman, President Obama declared himself “very happy.”
Standing in the Diplomatic Reception Room in the East Wing of the White House, the president said that in the past 10 weeks since he announced Sotomayor as his nominee, Senators have assessed Sotomayor’s fitness; scrutinized her record as a prosecutor, litigator, and judge; and “gauged her respect for the proper role of each branch of our government, her commitment to faithfully apply the law to the facts at hand, and her determination to protect our core constitutional rights and freedoms.”
And with today’s vote, the Senate declared Sotomayor to have “the intellect, the temperament, the history, the integrity, and the independence of mind to ably serve on our nation’s highest court,” the president said.
Mr. Obama said that “Equal Justice Under the Law” is not merely a phrase inscribed above the door of the Supreme Court. Rather, it’s “a description of what happens every single day inside the courtroom…a promise that, whether you’re a mighty corporation or an ordinary American, you will receive a full and fair hearing. And in the end, the outcome of your case will be determined by nothing more or less than the strength of your argument and the dictates of the law.”
“This is a wonderful day for Judge Sotomayor and her family, but I also think it’s a wonderful day for America,” he said.