From The New York Times:
President Obama has decided to nominate the federal appeals judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, choosing a daughter of Puerto Rican parents raised in Bronx public housing projects to become the nation’s first Hispanic justice, officials said Tuesday.
The decision, to be announced Tuesday morning, will be Mr. Obama’s first selection to the Supreme Court and could trigger a struggle with Senate Republicans who have indicated they may oppose the nomination. But Democrats control nearly the 60 votes necessary to choke off a filibuster and even Republicans said they have little hope of blocking confirmation barring unforeseen revelation.
The four finalists to replace Supreme Court Justice David Souter were: two federal appeals judges, Sotomayor of New York and Diane P. Wood of Chicago; and two members of the Obama administration, Solicitor General Elena Kagan and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.
Update: During a televised press conference announcing the decision, Obama called Sotomayor “an inspiring woman” and said the decision was made after “deep reflection” and “careful deliberation.” He was looking for someone with “rigorous intellect” and “mastery of the law.” The second requirement was “recognition of limits of the judicial role” and “respect for precedent.”
He added that justices “need something more,” and he quoted Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes on justices needing “compassion” and “experience.”
Sotomayor thanked her family members, calling her mother, who was in attendance, “her life’s inspiration.” Sotomayor said that for as long she could remember, she has been inspired by the principles of the founding fathers. She said it would be a “profound privilege applying those principles to questions and controversies we face today.”
She concluded by saying: “I am an ordinary person who has been blessed with extraordinary opportunities and experiences” — her selection being one of them.