Federal appeals court judge Sonia Sotomayor ’76 is poised to become the Supreme Court's first Hispanic justice. She also is our Tiger of the Week. President Barack Obama introduced Sotomayor as his nominee May 26, describing her as "an inspiring woman" and citing her intellect and compassion. After that introduction, Sotomayor said, "My heart today is bursting with gratitude."
Sotomayor, a native of the Bronx, N.Y., excelled at Princeton, where she was Phi Beta Kappa, co-winner of the Pyne Prize, and a summa cum laude graduate in the history department. She joined the University's board of trustees in 2007. Sotomayor graduated from Yale Law School and began her career as a federal judge in 1991. She was nominated for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in 1997.
Ten other Princeton alumni have served as Supreme Court justices, beginning with William Patterson, Class of 1763. If confirmed, Sotomayor would join fellow Princetonian Samuel A. Alito Jr. ’72 on the high court. (The last time that two alumni sat together on the court was in 1860.) Alito famously declared his Supreme Court aspirations in his senior Nassau Herald profile. Sotomayor was not so bold, but she did include a favorite quote from another alumnus, Norman Thomas, Class of 1905: "I am not a champion of lost causes, but of causes not yet won."
Do you have a nominee for Tiger of the Week? Let us know. All alumni qualify. PAW's Tiger of the Week is selected by our staff, with help from readers like you.