September 8th, 2009
03:18 PM ET
5 years ago

Sotomayor welcomed to the bench by new colleagues

Justice Sonia Sotomayor was welcomed to the Supreme Court by her new colleagues in a brief special ceremony Tuesday in the ornate courtroom.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor was welcomed to the Supreme Court by her new colleagues in a brief special ceremony Tuesday in the ornate courtroom.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Justice Sonia Sotomayor was welcomed to the Supreme Court by her new colleagues in a brief special ceremony Tuesday in the ornate courtroom.

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden were among those who attended the investiture of the 111th justice, where the court accepted her commission to serve on the high court.

During the five-minute ceremony, a beaming Sotomayor formally joined the eight other justices on the bench. The court has returned early from its summer recess to hear arguments in an appeal Wednesday dealing with campaign finance reform. It will be the 55-year-old justice's first case.

Among those who attended were members of Congress and the Obama administration, including Attorney General Eric Holder, who formally introduced Sotomayor to those gathered.


Sotomayor took the judicial oath administered by Chief Justice John Roberts and was then escorted to the far end of the bench and her new seat.

Roberts concluded the ceremony by wishing Sotomayor "a long and happy career in our common calling."

Most of the other justices showed little emotion, but Justice Bader Ginsburg smiled widely throughout the entire ceremony. Until Sotomayor,
Ginsburg had been the only female on the court and had openly called for more gender diversity on that bench. All of Obama's finalists for the high court vacancy were women.

Tuesday's pageantry was mostly for show, since Sotomayor was already confirmed last month by the Senate and officially sworn in August 8 by the chief justice, allowing her to begin her work immediately. She was a federal appeals court judge in New York when Obama nominated her to fill the vacancy left by the retired Justice David Souter.

Souter attended the ceremonies, sitting in a special visitors gallery next to Biden.

Sotomayor wore a white lace collar around her judicial robes, and appeared nervous entering the courtroom. She nodded when Obama and Biden arrived.

Roberts later escorted Sotomayor down the exterior steps of the court for a photo op with the media. The courtroom investiture was closed to camera coverage.


Filed under: Sonia Sotomayor • Supreme Court
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Ryan Indy

    Who cares.....

    September 8, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  2. Hendrik

    A great day in our nation.

    September 8, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  3. Steph

    Yay!

    September 8, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  4. Tyler

    Congrats to the new Justice!

    September 8, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  5. rr

    We can only hope she's more moderate, more pro-individual rights, and less pro-government than Souter.

    September 8, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  6. cgillette369

    another affirmative action candidate.
    NOT qualified on her own.

    September 8, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  7. Charlotte

    Now we will probably get a bunch of the hate-mongering righties posting on here about how the Supreme Court is going to hell in a handbasket. Get over it, children. A centrist Latin-American woman is now part of the Court. There is no way to characterize this as a bad thing. Now sit down and let them get on with their jobs, and spend your own time and effort trying to hang onto yours.

    September 8, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  8. Obama Victim

    I'm sure the self-described "Affirmative Action Baby" was enjoying the swearing-in ceremony usually reserved for QUALIFIED candidates.

    September 8, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  9. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Thank you and welcome, bienvenida Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor!!

    September 8, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  10. Racist

    How Sweet?

    September 8, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  11. Tani in CA

    Congratulations Justice Sotomayor! You've more than earned this high honor.

    I couldn't help but chuckle when I read the part , "Most of the other justices showed little emotion, but Justice Bader Ginsburg smiled widely throughout the entire ceremony." That is very telling, indeed.

    September 8, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  12. Mississippi Mike

    This is just perfect. Now we have a wise latina to set us straight. She can take her genetically and culturally superior wisdom and turn our country into whatever she thinks it should be. Yay, another radical in charge. What could possibly go wrong?

    September 8, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  13. S Callahan New York

    As she asked, I will pray. Quite a case you have entered into too....takes much wisdom on this.

    September 8, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  14. LacrosseMom

    Congrats Judge Sotomayor!

    September 8, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |