Current Affairs

US gay groups hail appointment of first Hispanic Supreme Court Justice

Tony Grew August 7, 2009
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America’s biggest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocacy organisations have welcomed the confirmation of Judge Sonia Sotomayor as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

Yesterday the US Senate voted 68-31, with 9 Republicans voting in favour of her confirmation.

Lambda Legal brings cases on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and people with HIV who have faced discrimination.

Executive Director Kevin Cathcart said:

“Lambda Legal applauds the confirmation of Justice Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court of the United States, and congratulates her on an historic appointment.

“Justice Sotomayor has excellent credentials and a proven record of understanding the law and Constitution, all of which have been recognised and highlighted throughout her confirmation process.

“When she takes her seat in September, Justice Sotomayor will become the third woman, and first Latina, appointed to the Court.”

The Human Rights Campaign, America’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organisation, had endorsed Judge Sotomayor for Associate Justice.

“We commend the Senate for swiftly confirming Judge Sotomayor,” said Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign.

“Judge Sotomayor has proven that she is eminently qualified to sit on the United States Supreme Court.

“We are confident that she has demonstrated her understanding of the need for equality for all Americans.

“She is clearly committed to ensuring our Constitution lives up to its promise of equal justice for all.”

The confirmation is President Obama’s first appointment to the nine-member Supreme Court.

Speaking shortly after the confirmation, the President said he was grateful for the Senate’s confirmation, and gave special thanks the Senate Judiciary Committee for their hard work.

“The members of our Supreme Court are granted life tenure and are charged with the vital and difficult task of applying principles set forth at our founding to the questions and controversies of our time,” he said.

“Over the past 10 weeks, members of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the full Senate have assessed Judge Sotomayor’s fitness for this work.

“They’ve scrutinised her record as a prosecutor, as a litigator, and as a judge.

“They’ve 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 this historic vote, the Senate has affirmed that Judge Sotomayor has the intellect, the temperament, the history, the integrity and the independence of mind to ably serve on our nation’s highest court.

“This is a role that the Senate has played for more than two centuries, helping to ensure that “equal justice under the law” is not merely a phrase inscribed above our courthouse door, but a description of what happens every single day inside the courtroom.

“It’s 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.

“Like so many other aspects of this nation, I’m filled with pride in this achievement and great confidence that Judge Sotomayor will make an outstanding Supreme Court justice.

“This is a wonderful day for Judge Sotomayor and her family, but I also think it’s a wonderful day for America.”

More: Americas

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