A New Yorker for the Supreme Court (Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand)

As the new junior senator from New York, I've already had a lot of exciting moments. But I'm already anticipating the moment next month when the name of another New Yorker, Judge Sonia Sotomayor, comes up for confirmation to the Supreme Court.

I was extremely proud when President Obama nominated Judge Sotomayor for the Supreme Court. Not only is she a true New Yorker, born and bred, but her 17 years of experience on the bench -- having served as a District Court Judge for the Southern District of New York and on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit -- make her among the most qualified jurists ever to be nominated to the Supreme Court.



In Judge Sotomayor, we have a jurist whose life experience allows her to understand, respect, and connect with the people whose lives will be affected by the Court. She is the quintessential New York story -- she was born in the Bronx, lost her dad at age 9 and was raised by her mom in a Bronx housing project. But through discipline and hard work, Judge Sotomayor went on to graduate with honors from Princeton University and get her law degree from Yale Law School.

Judge Sotomayor has served in a range of legal professions, having served as a big city prosecutor and a corporate litigator before being nominated to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York by President George H. W. Bush. As a member of the extremely influential 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, Sotomayor has developed a reputation as one of the most respected appellate judges in the country.

I'm also thrilled that President Obama chose not only the third woman ever to be nominated to the Supreme Court, but the first Latina. I think it's extremely important that the highest court in the land reflect the diversity of our nation and Judge Sotomayor's nomination to the Supreme Court takes us one step further toward that vision. This is why I urged President Obama to make this historic choice earlier this year.

Most important of all though, it's clear to me after having met Judge Sotomayor, as I had the privilege to do a couple weeks ago, and after having looked at the quality of her record, that Judge Sotomayor will, first and foremost, be a fierce advocate for the rule of law on the court. Not only does Judge Sotomayor understand the rule of law as a guiding principle, but she's someone who, in her 17 years as a judge, has truly followed that principle.

As we approach Judge Sotomayor's confirmation hearings, which are set to begin on July 13th, I have every confidence that as my colleagues in the Senate meet her, they will realize what I have: that Judge Sonia Sotomayor is an eminently qualified Supreme Court nominee who, as a justice, will apply the rule of law without personal bias.

I urge my Senate colleagues to grant Judge Sotomayor the swift and respectful confirmation she deserves.

Cross-posted from The Huffington Post