Every Friday, we choose an alum who has been making headlines—for better or for worse.
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Sonia Sotomayor ’79JD

For Sonia Sotomayor ’79JD, it was a Memorial Day to remember. That’s the night when, after weeks of speculation, President Barack Obama called to let the federal appellate judge know she is his choice to replace retiring Supreme Court justice David Souter. Sotomayor’s by-now-famous biography—raised in a Bronx housing project by a single mom after her father died, graduating from Princeton and Yale Law—and her legal chops were enough to win Senate confirmation twice before: when George H. W. Bush ’48 named her to the US District Court bench in 1991, and again when Bill Clinton ’73JD elevated her to the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. If confirmed again, Sotomayor will become the first Latina to sit on the nation’s highest court. She’s described as a centrist, which will set her apart from the other two Yalies on the court, Samuel Alito ’75JD and Clarence Thomas ’74JD.

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