Sotomayor, Sonia (sōtōmĪyôrˈ) [key], 1954–, associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (2009–), b. Bronx, N.Y., to Puerto Rican parents, grad. Princeton (B.A. 1976), Yale (J.D. 1979). She worked as a Manhattan assistant district attorney (1979–84) and was in private practice specializing in intellectual property law before she became a U.S. district court judge for the Southern District of New York in 1992. Three years later she was in the national spotlight when she ruled against the Major League Baseball owners in a case brought by the National Labor Relations Board; her decision led to the end of a prolonged strike by the baseball players. In 1998 she was confirmed to the U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit. Regarded a liberal with an incremental, methodical, and thoroughgoing approach to reaching a decision, she was chosen in 2009 by President Barack Obama to succeed retiring Justice David Souter, becoming the first Hispanic-American to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court.
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