Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Obama's Choice: I am elated about President Obama’s selection of Judge Sonia Sotomayer as Justice Souter’s replacement on the US Supreme Court. Not only is Judge Sotomayer eminently legally and scholastically qualified having graduated first in her class at Princeton and having been editor of the Yale Law Review but she also has served in a varied capacity within the law from a criminal prosecutor to a litigator in a corporate law firm.

More than even all of that, however, is the essence of who she is and the background from which she emerged which makes her a uniquely American story. Only in America can someone from a housing project in the Bronx escape the shackles of neighborhood drug dealers and the omnipresent crime it engenders to avoid that which could have imprisoned her for life. She is testament to the importance of family and the values it bestows as the vehicle to avoid a life of grinding poverty, hopelessness and sometimes even death before one’s time. Judge Sotomayer has risen above the hardship of the early death of her father, the hazard of a difficult milieu in which to thrive, a mother who sometimes worked two jobs and even the onset of diabetes at age 10 to show what desire, fortitude and positive family values will do to escape the seemingly inescapable.

Judge Sotomayer is the first Hispanic woman to be nominated to the Supreme Court. She is all that is excellent about this country and that which reinforces time and again my love for it. Where could the great odds against her be overcome any other place on earth? People come to our shores risking life and limb for a reason. The life of Judge Sotomayer gives answer to the question why and credence to President Obama’s campaign essence: Yes we can!