US President Barack Obama’s nominee for the vacant seat on the country’s Supreme Court is on Capitol Hill this morning meeting with key Senators ahead of her confirmation hearings.

Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination “pleased” LGBT legal advocacy group Lambda Legal.

They described the judge on the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals as “a woman of colour—the first Latina, and the third woman, who would serve on the high court.”

“While women, people of colour, and self-identified gay people continue to be woefully underrepresented in the federal judiciary, Judge Sotomayor’s nomination represents a step in the right direction.”

Lambda Legal’s executive director, Kevin Cathcart, said he had met with Obama staff to discuss the “concerns” of LGBT Americans and those living with HIV, among them the need to balance the judiciary after eight long years of the Bush Administration packing the courts with judges who were not committed to equality for all.”

“Lambda Legal sent the Obama transition team our federal court nomination principles memo which outlines the types of qualities necessary for a fair and impartial federal judge, including adherence to precedents established in cases of importance to the gay community,” he said.

“Among those vital precedents are the right to privacy, protection against laws based on anti-gay or anti-transgender bias, the right to sue in state courts under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and protections against HIV discrimination.

“Today, I repeat those same principles and ask the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee to carefully analyse Judge Sotomayor’s record as they move forward in the confirmation process. I urge them to ask pertinent and comprehensive questions to best assess Judge Sotomayor’s ability to be a fair and impartial justice on the US Supreme Court.”

The nine Justices of the Supreme Court are appointed for life, though they may retire.

On May 1, 2009, Justice David Souter confirmed to President Obama that he will retire at the end of the court’s term in June, at the age of 69.

If approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on some occasions a vote of the whole Senate, Judge Sotomayor will be the first Hispanic to serve on the US Supreme Court.