Senator Barbara Boxer: A Tale of Two Supreme Courts

Received this message from the Senator’s office today.

Dear Friend,

Yesterday, President Obama announced that he was nominating Judge Sonia Sotomayor to be the next Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, and I’m extremely pleased!

Along with Senator Olympia Snowe and tens of thousands of friends in the online community, I had asked the President to choose a woman, and he picked one with a stellar legal mind and an already distinguished legal career of more than three decades — someone who will bring more federal judicial experience than any new Justice in the past 100 years. As the first ever Hispanic nominee, Judge Sotomayor’s nomination sends a signal to all of America’s children: If you work hard and play by the rules, you can achieve your dreams.

Last night I talked with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow about Judge Sotomayor’s nomination as well as the Prop 8 ruling in California. If you’ve got a minute, I hope you’ll check it out.

Click here to watch my TV interview with Rachel Maddow on my Facebook page — and sign up as one of my supporters on Facebook while you’re there!

Judge Sotomayor has a tremendous life story. She was born to a working-class Puerto Rican family in the Bronx. Her father was a factory worker, and her mother was a nurse. Judge Sotomayor excelled in school, attended Princeton University, and then Yale Law School. She served as an Assistant District Attorney in Manhattan and then a corporate litigator before being nominated to the federal District Court by President George H.W. Bush and then elevated to the Appeals Court by President Clinton.

Judge Sotomayor truly brings the kind of life experience — as a woman, as a minority, as someone who grew up in a working-class family — that we need on the Supreme Court today. She knows that her decisions have an impact on real people, and she’s never lost sight of that. I’m looking forward to her confirmation hearings and working with you to make sure she gets the chance to serve.

And now to the other Supreme Court. While yesterday brought the good news of Judge Sotomayor’s nomination, it also brought bad news when we learned that the California Supreme Court upheld Proposition 8. The marriages of more than 18,000 same-sex couples remain intact — but gays and lesbians who want to get married now find themselves unable to. It’s a terribly unfair double-standard, and something that I hope the people of California will remedy at the ballot box. The fight for marriage equality continues, and I’m proud to stand with millions of Californians in this fight.

The confirmation of a Supreme Court Justice is one of the most solemn duties of any Senator. Justices are the final arbiters of our Constitution, and unlike elected officials like Members of Congress, Governors, or the President, they can influence the direction of the country for decades because of their lifetime appointments to the Court. That’s how the framers of Constitution intended it, to free Justices of any political influence, but it places a heavy weight on the shoulders of the Senate.

I am confident that Judge Sotomayor will be a tremendous Justice. With her extensive judicial experience, and her own personal life experience, I know that she will protect the rights and liberties of all Americans.

Thanks so much for your help. I’ll be in touch as the confirmation process moves forward to let you know where and when we may need the help of our strong grassroots community.