WASHINGTON (CNN) – During Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor's 17 years as a federal judge, the U.S. Supreme Court has reviewed her decisions on at least eight occasions. CNN has reviewed those cases and has summarized each in a series of posts. The names and citations reflect the cases as they were known when they first came before Sotomayor.
Ricci v. DeStefano (2008), 530 F.3d 87: Sotomayor was part of a three-judge panel that ruled in February 2008 to uphold a lower court decision supporting the City of New Haven's decision to throw out the results of an exam to determine promotions within the city's fire department. Only one Hispanic and no African-American firefighters qualified for promotion based on the exam; the City subsequently decided not to certify the results and issued no promotions. In June 2008, Sotomayor was part of a 7-6 majority to deny a rehearing of the case by the full court. The Supreme Court agreed to review the case and heard oral arguments in April 2009.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - It's not just lawyers who face a tough audience in the nine members of the U.S. Supreme Court. Federal judges themselves frequently have a difficult time in persuading the nation's high court on matters of law, as Judge Sonia Sotomayor can personally attest.
Over the course of almost 17 years on the federal bench, Sotomayor has written opinions on at least eight cases that the Supreme Court later reviewed on appeal, according to a CNN analysis of Sotomayor's cases. Of those cases, five were either overturned or sent back to the lower court for further consideration. Two cases were upheld, but Sotomayor's legal reasoning in one the cases was panned in the opinion signed by entire court. An eighth case is still being deliberated.
Sotomayor issued seven of the rulings while serving in her current post on the U.S. Court of Appeals; the eighth ruling stemmed from a case she presided over as a district court judge in 1997.
In three of the cases where Sotomayor was overturned, the newest Supreme Court nominee had the same or similar position as the jurist she hopes to replace, Justice David Souter.
The list of cases and eventual Supreme Court outcomes is after the jump.
Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe issued the following statement Tuesday on Sotomayor's nomination:
"Indisputably, this is an historic selection, as Sonia Sotomayor is just the third woman to be nominated to The Court and the first Hispanic American. I commend President Obama for nominating a well-qualified woman, as I urged him to do during a one-on-one meeting on a variety of issues in the Oval Office earlier this month.
"I also appreciate that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel called me personally this morning to inform me of the President's selection. As the process moves forward, I will apply the same standards of review that I have in the past - that any Supreme Court nominee should bring a balanced approach to cases, possess a strong intellect and suitable judicial temperament, and follow a disciplined judicial methodology in reaching decisions. Justices on the High Court sit for life, so the Senate must exercise this constitutional duty thoughtfully, and give careful and thorough consideration to Judge Sotomayor, as it should to every nominee. I share the view that the proper role of the judiciary is one of interpreting the Constitution and acts of Congress, not legislating from the bench. As such, I will carefully evaluate Sonia Sotomayor’s record and temperament in making my determination."
That is likely to happen again when the Senate votes in coming months on Sotomayor's nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.
President Barack Obama nominated the career jurist as the possible first Hispanic justice - and only the third woman justice - in the history of the nation's highest court.
Those distinctions make Sotomayor's confirmation by the Democratic-majority Senate virtually certain, analysts say. They also note that Republican President George H.W. Bush first nominated Sotomayor as a federal judge, indicating broad political appeal.
A senior White House official told CNN that Sotomayor was "nominated by George Bush - then Bill Clinton - (and has) more judicial experience than anyone sitting on the court had at the time they were nominated."
Sen. Jeff Sessions, ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, issued a statement Tuesday on Sotomayor's nomination:
"The president's nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court today is an important step in a constitutional process that includes the advice and consent of the Senate. I congratulate Ms. Sotomayor on her nomination.
"The Senate Judiciary Committee's role is to act on behalf of the American people to carefully scrutinize Ms. Sotomayor's qualifications, experience, and record. We will engage in a fair and thorough examination of Ms. Sotomayor's previous judicial opinions, speeches, and academic writings to determine if she has demonstrated the characteristics that great judges share: integrity, impartiality, legal expertise, and a deep and unwavering respect for the rule of law.
"Of primary importance, we must determine if Ms. Sotomayor understands that the proper role of a judge is to act as a neutral umpire of the law, calling balls and strikes fairly without regard to one's own personal preferences or political views.
"President Obama has stated his desire to have a full court seated at the start of its next term, a reasonable goal toward which the Judiciary Committee should responsibly and diligently move. But we must remember that a Supreme Court justice sits for a lifetime appointment, and the Senate hearing is the only opportunity for the American people to engage in the nomination process. Adequate preparation will take time. I will insist that, consistent with recent confirmation processes, every senator be accorded the opportunity to prepare, ask questions, and receive full and complete answers.
"I look forward to the coming months as we move forward with this process. As I told the president this morning, I will do all I can to ensure that Ms. Sotomayor receives a fair hearing before the Committee. I firmly believe that the American people deserve a full and thoughtful debate about the proper role of a judge in the American legal system, an issue that will be central to our review of Ms. Sotomayor's record."
(CNN) - Cecilia Lopez, a student who is the first person from her family to go to college, sees something of herself in the first Hispanic woman to be nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court.
"To me, as a student that comes from a low-income background, I think she's a true example of the fact that when you're wanting to achieve something, it's truly possible, regardless of your background," said Lopez, a 20-year-old senior at the University of Texas.
On Tuesday, President Obama nominated Sonia Sotomayor, a woman of Puerto Rican descent, to the U.S. Supreme Court. If confirmed, Sotomayor will be the first Hispanic person and only the third woman to serve on the nation's highest court.
In the wake of the nomination, Hispanics celebrated Sotomayor as a symbol of success and also as a reflection of the changing demographics of the country. In a sense, she is the Hispanic community's answer to Obama's narrative - a sign that, as Lopez said, anything is possible in America if a person works hard enough, no matter their race or economic situation.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor said in a 2001 speech that a judge's gender and ethnicity does, and should, influence his or her decision-making on the bench.
Sotomayor made the comments on October 26, 2001, at a University of California-Berkeley symposium marking the 40th anniversary of the first Latino named to the federal district court.
"I wonder whether by ignoring our differences as women or men of color we do a disservice both to the law and society," she said at the event, sponsored by the law school. "I further accept that our experiences as women and people of color affect our decisions. The aspiration to impartiality is just that - it's an aspiration because it denies the fact that we are by our experiences making different choices than others."
"Our gender and national origins may and will make a difference in our judging. Justice [Sandra Day] O'Connor has often been cited as saying that a wise old man and wise old woman will reach the same conclusion in deciding cases. I am also not so sure that I agree with the statement," she added. "First, as Professor [Martha] Minnow has noted, there can never be a universal definition of wise. Second, I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life."
A university media affairs representative confirmed the comments to CNN.
President Obama announced Tuesday his intention to nominate Sotomayor to the high court. She would become the first Hispanic and third female justice in Supreme Court history.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued a statement Tuesday on Sotomayor's nomination:
"I commend President Obama's nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor as an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Judge Sotomayor's experiences and understanding of the law will assure a strong voice for fairness on the Supreme Court. Judge Sotomayor will preserve our civil liberties, maintain the independence of the judiciary, and protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
"As the first Latina to be nominated for the Supreme Court, Judge Sotomayor's nomination and life story are a testament to the American values of equality, opportunity, and justice. Her outstanding intellectual achievements - as a student, attorney and judge - make her one of the most qualified nominees in many years. I look forward to her timely confirmation by the United States Senate."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Heading into the selection process, Sonia Sotomayor was the Supreme Court candidate President Obama knew the least. But her six-hour White House visit last Thursday - including an hour-long meeting with the president - clinched her the spot, according to a senior administration offficial.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A Republican National Committee official tells CNN the party will strike a "fair" tone towards federal appeals judge Sonia Sotomayor, President Obama's pick to fill Justice David Souter's seat on the Supreme Court.
"The Republicans are going to strike a tone that's fair, that allows the vetting process to happen like it should, and that's in stark contrast to how the Democrats dealt with Judge Roberts when you look back a couple years ago," the official said.
A story on the National Review's Web site Tuesday morning reported that the RNC had recently asked a possible surrogate to strike a "neutral" tone towards Obama's eventual pick.
However, the official said: "I don't think that you can describe the tone as neutral, but you can describe it as fair."