Justice Sonia Sotomayor

Here’s a look at the life of Sonia Sotomayor, associate justice of the US Supreme Court.


Birth date: June 25, 1954

Birth place: New York, New York

Birth name: Sonia Maria Sotomayor

Father: Juan Sotomayor, factory worker

Mother: Celina (Baez) Sotomayor, nurse

Marriage: Kevin Edward Noonan (August 1976-October 1983, divorced)

Education: Princeton University, A.B., 1976 - graduated summa cum laude; Yale University, J.D., 1979

Religion: Roman Catholic

Other Facts

First Hispanic US Supreme Court justice.

Third female justice in US Supreme Court history.

First Hispanic person to be appointed to the federal bench in New York.

Sotomayor’s parents moved from Puerto Rico to New York in the 1940s. Her father died when she was nine.

Was editor of the Yale Law Journal.

Diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 8.


1979-1984 - Serves as assistant district attorney for New York County.

1984-1992 - Associate and later partner of Pavia & Harcourt in New York.

1992-1998 - Associate judge at the US District Court, Southern District of New York, nominated by President George H.W. Bush.

April 1995 - Sotomayor issues an injunction which ends the eight-month-long Major League Baseball strike.

June 25, 1997 - President Bill Clinton nominates Sotomayor to the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

October 2, 1998 - Sotomayor is confirmed by the Senate after Republican opposition delays the vote for more than a year.

1998-August 2009 - Judge for the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

1998-2007 - Adjunct professor at New York University School of Law.

1999-2009 - Lecturer at Columbia University Law School.

May 26, 2009 - Is nominated by President Barack Obama to replace Justice David Souter on the US Supreme Court.

July 13, 2009 - Sotomayor’s confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee begin.

July 28, 2009 - The Senate Judiciary Committee approves the nomination of Sotomayor.

August 6, 2009 - Sotomayor is confirmed by the US Senate (68-31). She becomes the first Hispanic Supreme Court justice.

August 8, 2009 - Sotomayor is sworn in as the 111th Justice of the Supreme Court by Chief Justice John Roberts.

September 26, 2009 - Throws out the first pitch at Yankee Stadium.

April 27, 2010 - The World Series-winning New York Yankees take their trophy to her chambers.

June 4, 2010 - The Bronxdale Houses public housing project she grew up in is renamed the Justice Sonia Sotomayor Houses and Community Center.

July 12, 2010 - Commits to write and publish her memoir with Alfred A. Knopf. It is later revealed that Sotomayor received a $1.175 million advance, according to financial disclosure forms released in 2011.

January 15, 2013 - Her memoir, “My Beloved World,” is published. The book discusses her father’s alcoholism, her struggle with diabetes and her divorce.

August 31, 2017 - Joins fellow Yankees fans at the so-called “Judge’s Chambers,” a section in the right-field bleachers named for All-Star right fielder Aaron Judge.

January 19, 2018 - Sotomayor suffers “symptoms of low blood sugar” and paramedics are called to her home, according to a Supreme Court spokesperson. The spokesperson says Sotomayor was treated, returned to work and is doing fine.

April 16, 2018 - Breaks her shoulder in a fall, according to a spokesperson. She will undergo physical therapy as part of her recovery but plans to continue with her work schedule.

May 1, 2018 - Undergoes “reverse total shoulder replacement surgery” and is released from the hospital the next day.

September 4, 2018 - Publishes two children’s books based on her 2013 memoir: “The Beloved World of Sonia Sotomayor,” an adaptation for tween readers and “Turning Pages: My Life Story,” illustrated by Lulu Delacre.

March 10, 2020 - The Supreme Court announces Sotomayor will no longer participate in one of two cases this term concerning so-called faithless presidential electors, or those who vote for someone other than the state’s popular vote winner. Sotomayor “believes that her impartiality might reasonably be questioned” due to her friendship with one of the litigants in the Colorado case. She will participate in the case from Washington state.

January 20, 2021 - Sotomayor swears in Kamala Harris, the first female, first Black and first South Asian US vice president.