#TBT: First Hispanic SCOTUS justice channels Nancy Drew
Posted September 21
I've got a mystery for you: A current member of the Supreme Court wanted to be Nancy Drew growing up. Who was it? Here's a hint: She is also the first Hispanic justice.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor didn't become a teen detective. Instead, she made history.
"I noticed that [fictional defense attorney] Perry Mason was involved in a lot of the same kinds of investigative work that I had been fascinated with reading Nancy Drew, so I decided to become a lawyer," Sotomayor said in 2000 of her Drew dreams. "Once I focused on becoming a lawyer, I never deviated from that goal."
Take a look at the Instagram photo above. That snap, from Sotomayor's time at Princeton University, looks an awful lot like America's beloved bob-haired teen detective. She may have become a lawyer, but Sotomayor definitely channeled Ms. Drew at one point in her life.
Born in 1954 in New York to Puerto Rican parents, Sotomayor grew up in a housing project in the Bronx. She went to college at Princeton and Yale for law school.
She originally made history as the first Hispanic person on the federal bench in New York. Despite later tension with Senate Republicans - we'll get there - George H.W. Bush nominated her to be an associate US District Court judge.
That was followed by a nomination by President Bill Clinton to the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals. That's when she ran up against Republicans in Congress for the first time. Her nomination was delayed for a year, resulting in a 67-29 confirmation.
The major conservative argument against Sotomayor goes back to an idea she used in speeches stretching back to 1994.
"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," she said in 2001. Critics called Sotomayor "a reverse racist."
In 2009, Sotomayor's trailblazing continued when President Barack Obama nominated her to replace Justice David Souter on the Supreme Court.
During the nomination, Obama referred to Sotomayor as the person who "saved baseball." The President was referencing Sotomayor's 1995 ruling that halted a 232-day Major League Baseball strike, making Sotomayor arguably the most patriotic person ever. Service comes in many forms, and ball is life.
The Senate confirmed Sotomayor to the Supreme Court by roughly the same margin that she had during her appeals court appointment - 68-31.
She was sworn in as the first Hispanic justice and 111th justice overall in August 2009. She still sits on the bench today.