Obama Praises Sotomayor, Senate for Tearing Down Barriers

By Caitlin Taylor

Aug 12, 2009 11:21am

ABC News’ Sunlen Miller reports: Appearing for the first time with his newly sworn-in Supreme Court Justice President Obama praised the US Senate for their “overwhelming vote,” to “look beyond the old divisions” by voting Sonia Sotomayor, the first Hispanic Member of the Supreme Court, to the bench. “We celebrate how, with their overwhelming vote to confirm Justice Sotomayor, the United States Senate, Republicans and Democrats, tore down yet one more barrier and affirmed our belief that in America the doors of opportunity must be open to all.  With that vote, the Senate looked beyond the old divisions and they embraced excellence.” The President said that when Sotomayor was formally sworn in this past Saturday the country “came yet another step to a more perfect union that we all seek.” In an East Room reception at the White House, with Sotomayor’s family seated in the front row, President Obama heralded Justice Sotomayor’s life story and rise from humble beginnings. “Her life is one of those only-in-America stories: raised by a single mom in the South Bronx determined to give her every opportunity to succeed, propelled by the talent and hard work that would earn her scholarships and honors at the best schools in the country; driven always by the belief that it doesn’t matter where you come from or what you look like or what challenges life throws your way, no dream is beyond reach in the United States of America.” Obama took a moment to single out her Sotomayor’s mother, and First Lady Michelle Obama led the crowd in a standing ovation, to the woman that the President said “in so many ways truly made this day possible.” Two other Supreme Court Justices, Stevens and Ginsberg were among the nearly 200 in the audience. “I know you’ll be giving Justice Sotomayor some good tips,” Obama joked of their newest colleague. An emotional Sotomayor thanked the President, and the Judiciary Committee for the “trust” that they have placed in her. “I am most grateful to this country.  I stand here today knowing that my confirmation as an associate justice of the Supreme Court would never have been possible without the opportunities presented to me by this nation,” Sotomayor said, “It is this nation’s faith in a more perfect union that allows a Puerto Rican girl from the Bronx to stand here now.” -Sunlen Miller

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