President Obama made an outstanding selection in nominating Judge Sotomayor to the Supreme Court of the United States. Judge Sotomayor will bring to the bench her intelligence, her humble upbringing, her top-notch qualifications and her fair-minded approach to legal matters.

I am particularly excited that President Obama chose an Hispanic woman for this critical role. Our Tampa Bay area has a strong legacy of Hispanic and female attorneys and judges. Judge Vivian Corvo became Hillsborough County’s first female Hispanic judge more than a decade ago, and Hispanic judges and attorneys have served at all levels of our state’s legal system.

We have made strides in Florida. According to a Florida Supreme Court committee, Hispanic judges accounted for 1.5 percent of the state’s judiciary in 1990. By 2007, that make-up rose to 7.2 percent.

Progress, yes. But we still have a long way to go. That is why I am so pleased that President Obama chose Judge Sotomayor, an Hispanic woman, to sit on the highest court in the land. We can all be proud of her accomplishments, which should serve as an important lesson to our children in the Tampa Bay area. Children who dream of great success should realize their goals really are possible and within their reach.

Congresswoman Kathy Castor, former President of Florida Association of Women Lawyers