Excerpt from The Washington Post May 26, 2009
Judge Sonia Sotomayor knew she wanted to go into law from an early age.
As a child, she aspired to be like Nancy Drew, the detective in the popular children’s mystery series. But at the age of 8, she was diagnosed with diabetes and told she might need to rethink her dreams.
Her struggle with diabetes was just one of many adversities she faced while growing up.
Sotomayor’s parents came to New York from Puerto Rico during World War II. Her father worked in a factory and didn’t speak English.
She was born in the Bronx and grew up in a public housing project, not too far from the stadium of her favorite team — the New York Yankees. Her father died when she was 9, leaving her mother to raise her and her younger brother on her own.
Her mother, whom Sotomayor describes as her biggest inspiration, worked six days a week to care for her and her younger brother, and instilled in them the value of an education.
Sotomayor later graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University and went on to attend Yale law school, where she was editor of the Yale Law Journal.
In her three-decade career, she has worked at nearly every level of the judicial system, and on Tuesday she became President Obama’s pick to replace retiring Justice David Souter on the Supreme Court.
Sotomayor thanked Obama for “the most humbling honor of my life.”
“I hope that as the Senate and American people learn more about me, they will see that I am an ordinary person who has been blessed with extraordinary opportunities and experiences. Today is one of those experiences,” she said.