The 54-year-old judge is of Puerto Rican descent. If confirmed, she would become the first Hispanic to serve on the high court. She would also be the third female named to the Supreme Court, and the second on the current court.
Sotomayor is a judge on the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. She was named a district judge by President George H.W. Bush in 1992 and was elevated to her current seat by President Bill Clinton.
Supporters say that appointment history, along with what they describe as her moderate-liberal views, will give her some bipartisan backing in the Senate. They also point to her compelling story and personal appeal. The liberal-leaning justice rose from humble beginnings at a housing project in the South Bronx and went on to attend Princeton University and Yale Law School.
Conservatives argue Sotomayor has a "hard-left record" and believes that judges should consider experiences of women and people of color in their decision-making. They also described her as a "bully" who "abuses lawyers."
Sotomayor was confirmed by the Senate to her current seat in 1998, a process that took more than a year.