Obama Picks Sotomayor

Well, my hunch was right about today, as President Obama is naming federal appeals court judge Sonia Sotomayor as his choice to replace retiring U.S. Supreme Court Justice David Souter.

Sotomayor would be the first Hispanic justice, so that will get a lot of focus in the weeks ahead, though there are some who say Herbert Hoover actually put the first Hispanic on the court.

Her history on the federal bench is a bipartisan one.  She was named a federal district judge in 1992 by the first President Bush.

In 1997, President Bill Clinton nominated her for the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, where she has served almost 12 years.

The appeals court level has become the training ground for the Supreme Court in recent years, as all nine current justices served on that court before going to the highest court in the land.

Is she going to be controversial?  Well that depends where you are on the political spectrum right now.

Some look at Sotomayor and see a raging liberal.  But others see someone who is more in the middle.

Will there be issues with her nomination?  Yes there will be, and one of them will focus on a case that was recently argued before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Judge Sotomayor joined in an appeals court ruling involving a group of white firefighters in New Haven, Connecticut, who filed suit after a promotion test they took was scrapped because minority applicants did not do well on the exam.

That raises the ole hot topic of affirmative action, which certainly infuses a reliably divisive political issue into this confirmation.

What will be really interesting is that in the next few weeks, the Supreme Court will rule on that case.

I can't wait to see what kind of message might be sent on it by the conservative members of the court, especially Justice Scalia.  That would make for a great sidebar to this confirmation story.

Other than that, I'm sure some other cases will get dredged up in coming days, as everyone turns their attention to Sotomayor's record.