USA Today reports, “Judge Sonia Sotomayor, who grew up speaking Spanish in a public housing project, is headed for a seat on the Supreme Court after an overwhelming Senate vote Thursday to make her the first Hispanic member of the court.” Sotomayor’s “elevation prompted jubilation among leaders of the nation’s fast-growing Hispanic community.” The tally “was 68-31, with only the ailing Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., missing the roll call. Nine Republicans joined 57 Democrats and two independents in confirming President Obama’s first Supreme Court nominee.” The Los Angeles Times says Sotomayor “completed an unlikely and historic journey,” while the AP Davis) refers to “a history-making Senate vote,” and notes that President Obama, “the nation’s first black president, praised the Senate’s vote as ‘breaking another barrier and moving us yet another step closer to a more perfect union.’ He planned to welcome Sotomayor at the White House next week.”
ABC World News (8/6, story 3, 2:15, Crawford-Greenburg) said that after the vote “there was joy and pride, as Hispanics across the country and the President celebrated an historic first.” Obama was shown saying, “This is a wonderful day for Judge Sotomayor and her family, but I also think it is a wonderful day for America.” The CBS Evening News (8/6, lead story, 2:30, Couric) also reported that “Obama says it’s a wonderful day for America,” and went on to refer (Andrews) to the vote as “a history-making moment.” A follow-up story on the CBS Evening News (8/6, story 2, 2:30, Couric) said that “all over the country today, Hispanics were celebrating this milestone.” NBC Nightly News (8/6, lead story, 3:00, P. Williams) similarly reported that “around the country Hispanic groups were celebrating. … Huge cheers in Los Angeles where Hispanic supporters joined to watch the historic Senate vote. Here and at similar gatherings around the country pride in having a Supreme Court justice from the nation’s fastest growing minority, now 15% of the population.”
Adam Liptak, in the New York Times, writes that while “the new justice’s presence will unsettle and reshuffle the court,” Supreme Court “specialists said they do not expect her to take a fundamentally different approach from Justice Souter, whom she is succeeding, in most kinds of cases. They also cautioned that a justice’s first few years are often a poor indicator of a long-term philosophy.”
From the American Association for Justice news release.