Sonia Sotomayor Makes Supreme Court History

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Sonia Sotomayor and President Obama
Sotomayor is divorced, Hispanic, female and the next Supreme Court Nominee.

President Obama, after a weekend of reflection, nominated Sonia Sotomayor as the next Supreme Court Justice.

If confirmed, Sotomayor may be best known, demographically speaking, as the first Hispanic (Puerto Rican) and the third woman to be a Supreme Court Justice, but she also stands out because she is single, divorced and has no children. Read: Career And Family: Can We Really Have Both?

Sotomayor will be the only single Justice on the bench, although she would be replacing the retiring Justice David Souter who is also single, and the second that is divorced, joining Justice Clarence Thomas. While these distinctions do not reflect on her ability to perform her job, they, in addition to her other non-white-male attributes, further distinguish her as a person who does not fit the mold historically set for the Supreme Court.

It could be debated as to whether her single status has helped her focus on her illustrious career as a lawyer and judge. From whom she points to as her role model, it appears as if Sotomayor would be in this position regardless of marital status. Watch: How To Stop Worrying About Your Biological Clock

When she accepted her nomination she said, "I stand on the shoulders of countless people, yet there is one extraordinary person who is my life aspiration. That person is my mother, Celina Sotomayor."

When Sonia was nine years old her father died, leaving her mother to continue raising Sonia and her brother, Juan, in a housing project in New York's South Bronx. Celina Sotomayor worked six days a week as a nurse to send her children to Catholic school.

Sonia went on to say this about her mother, "I have often said that I am all I am because of her, and I am only half the woman she is."

Sonia married in 1976 while still an undergrad at Princeton University and divorced in 1983. She was a single woman while attaining her career achievements, which ultimately resulted in her nomination to the Supreme Court. If it weren't for the foundation set by Celina, Sonia would not have had the opportunity or inspiration to end up where she has today. A single, immigrant mother raising a daughter who has the potential to reach the nation's highest court is another embodiment of the American dream.

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