According to reports, President Obama has chosen Judge Sonia Sotomayor of a Federal Court of Appeals based in New York as his nominee for the Supreme Court. If confirmed, she will become the Court's first Hispanic Justice.
Judge Sotomayor as authored numerous opinions on civil rights and employment law issues. Recently her opinion in Ricci v. DeStefano (2009) has been getting a great deal of attention as it is currently on appeal to the Supreme Court. Ricci concerns white firefighters in New Haven who were denied promotions after an examination yielded no black firefighters eligible for advancement. Joining an unsigned opinion of a three-judge panel of the appeals court, Judge Sotomayor upheld the rejection of a lawsuit by white firefighters, one of them Hispanic, claiming race discrimination and, as part of the full appeals court, she declined to rehear the case. The Supreme Court is currently considering the case, and Justice Anthony M. Kennedy is the likely swing vote. Among the questions in the case is whether the law should treat diversity in the work force differently from diversity in the classroom.