Sonia Sotomayor – the fearless federal trial court judge who saved Major League Baseball from a ruinous 1995 strike – entered the record book as the first Hispanic and the third woman to serve on the High Court.
Nominated by President Barack Obama in 2009, Sonia Sotomayer became the first Latina Supreme Court Justice in U.S. history. She is best known for participating in two landmark supreme court rulings—upholding a critical component of the Affordable Care Act and granting same-sex marriages legality in all 50 states. Sotomayor began her career as a justice enthusiastically, skipping the shy period of settling into the job and beginning to fire questions during oral arguments immediately. The first case she heard was Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, where she dissented from the majority, which held in favor of the rights of corporations in campaign finance. Her disagreement in that case highlighted the liberal views she has voiced throughout her six years and counting on the court. Sotomayor has specifically fought for the protection of affirmative action programs. She wrote a 58 page dissent in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, which held that prohibitions to state universities from considering race in admission decisions was constitutional. Sotomayor has also joined the liberal majority on recent landmark cases. She ruled in the majority which upheld the Affordable Care Act twice, and in Obergefell v. Hodges, to legalize same-sex marriage in all 50 states. Sotomayor is known on the court for her trust in the judicial process, and her cutthroat attitude toward ill-prepared attorneys. She is also known for her kindness toward jurors and the attorneys who work hard to advocate for their clients.