Bay Area Weighs in on Scotus Pick

Bay Area political leaders praised President Obama's nomination of federal appeals court judge Sonia Sotomayor to replace retiring  Justice David Souter and become the nation's first Hispanic Supreme Court  justice.
Following Obama's announcement Tuesday morning, the White House issued a statement saying, "Her American story and three-decade career in  nearly every aspect of the law provide Judge Sotomayor with unique  qualifications to be the next Supreme Court justice."

Barring a Republican filibuster or an unforeseen circumstance, Sotomayor's nomination appears to be secured.

Howard Epstein, chairman of the San Francisco Republican Party, is convinced Sotomayor will receive confirmation but is doubtful about her  decision-making abilities.

"She looks like a very activist judge and one who would rather make law than enforce the law as written," Epstein said.

Among Democrats, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein commended Obama for choosing a "solid and tested woman as his nominee for the U.S. Supreme  Court."

"The nomination is clearly historic in that she would be the first Latina, and the third woman ever, to sit on the Supreme Court," Feinstein  said. "I know there are those who will try to delay this nominee. However, I  believe it is important that she has a clear opportunity for a fair and open  nomination process, and that her nomination can move rapidly to the floor of  the Senate and be confirmed."

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom's office issued a statement saying, "The mayor is very pleased with the nomination of Judge Sotomayor. It  is an historic day for all Americans."

Dennis Herrera, who in 2001 became the first Latino elected as San Francisco's city attorney, also lauded Obama's choice.

"As a Latino and as a lawyer, I am very proud of Judge Sotomayor's nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. President Obama has made a first-rate  choice that honors the legal profession and affirms the Latino community's  place in America," Herrera said.

District Attorney Kamala Harris said Sotomayor's background will be an asset to the Supreme Court.

"The caliber of Judge Sotomayor's qualifications are outstanding.  Her academic, personal and professional experiences would no doubt enrich the  bench, and make our nation's highest court more reflective of the citizens  whose rights it protects," Harris said.

The daughter of Puerto Rican immigrants, Sotomayor ascended to the  federal bench from the depths of a New York housing project. Her love of  Nancy Drew novels helped propel her into a career in law.

Sotomayor is a graduate of Princeton University and Yale Law  School. She was promoted to the Second Circuit by former President Bill  Clinton and appointed to the District Court for the Southern District of New York by former President George H.W. Bush.

If confirmed, according to the White House, "Sotomayor would bring more federal judicial experience to the Supreme Court than any justice in 100  years, and more overall judicial experience than anyone confirmed for the  Court in the past 70 years."

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