As a Latina, I will be honored, and extremely proud, if Sonia Sotomayor is confirmed as a justice on the Supreme Court of the United States of America.
According to a variety of media reports, she will be the first Latina, the third woman and the 111th person to be considered for such an esteemed and responsible position.
I was pleased when President Barack Obama announced her nomination. It is evidence that he truly is following through on his promise to the American people to bring about "Change We Need." The Sotomayor nomination gives me hope that this was more than just a campaign slogan.
Considering the many changes and improvements President Obama is trying to make -- in health care, education and energy policy, to name a few -- Sotomayor's nomination could prove to be the most impactful. I believe it will affect every American citizen, in a positive way, as it sets its mark on the history of our judicial system.
When the nomination was first announced, I have to say that I wasn't surprised by the negativity that echoed throughout the media. And it hurt. Why is it that, when there's something different, people have to pick at it? Try to destroy it, perhaps, because of personal insecurities?
Change, equality and fresh ideas have made this country successful. The United States of America is the country of opportunity, where nothing is impossible.
It was a slap in the face, as a Hispanic, the way the media, and others, seemed so harsh and accusatory about Sotomayor's choice of words, when she said: "I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences, would, more often than not, reach a better conclusion, than a white male who hasn't lived that life."
I understand how some people could possibly misunderstand the statement as a discriminatory, or racist quote. But, as a Latina, I see it otherwise. And it's a pity so many aren't willing to give her the benefit of the doubt. This quote was meant to inspire Latinos, and people who came from a similar background.
I believe that a person's life experiences, background and culture ultimately reflect their personality, and opinions -- and in Sotomayor's case, how she views the law. And I think that is true of everyone, not just Sotomayor.
Sotomayor said during her confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill that she has used similar statements in past years, particularly to women lawyers, young Latino lawyers, and students. So, if these statements were of so much concern, why haven't her critics raised these issues with the same vehemence before? That bothers me.
To her credit, Sotomayor has handled herself with much grace and professionalism, while answering tough questions from Republicans during the confirmation hearing. Though most Republicans appear to not be in favor of her nomination, many have expressed that they are impressed with her performance.
As she has calmly answered questions on hot-button issues, such as Roe vs. Wade, and gun control, she has wisely kept her personal opinions aside, using legal doctrine to support her answers.
According to her much-publicized resume, her qualifications and commitment to the law speak for themselves. She grew up in a Puerto Rican family, in a public housing project in the South Bronx, in New York. Her determination, and her mother's instillment of the importance of education, led her to graduate as valedictorian of her high school class.
She graduated summa cum laude from Princeton and got her law degree from Yale. She has worked on several levels of the judicial system, and has served on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit since October 1998.
I believe Sotomayor will be an excellent justice, serving all Americans, but also a great representative of, and inspiration to, the American Latino community. We will finally have a voice.
Maria José Subiria covers transportation and business for the Clayton News Daily. She can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.