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President Obama announces Supreme Court nominee

President Obama has chosen Sonia Sotomayor as his U.S. Supreme Court nominee. The President plans to announce this decision at 10:15 a.m. this morning. If Ms. Sotomayor is approved, she will be the first Hispanic U.S. Supreme Court justice. The President’s nominee is a replacement for current Supreme Court Justice David Souter. Justice Souter announced this month that he will be stepping down from the Court when the summer session ends.
Obama was expected to nominate a female to the Supreme Court, which currently only has one female justice, Ms. Ruth Ginsberg. Ms. Sotomayaor has been a federal judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit since 1998. From 1992-1998 Ms. Sotomayor was a federal judge for the U.S. District Court, Sothern District of New York. Before that, she served as an assistant district attorney for New York County from 1979-1984.
Once the President nominates a candidate for the Supreme Court, the Senate Judiciary Committee conducts hearings and questions the nominee to determine whether he/she is suitable for the Court. Once the hearings are completed, the Committee votes on whether the Senate should be given a positive, negative or neutral report on the candidate. The entire Senate is then given the report of the Committee and votes on the nominee. A simple majority vote is required to confirm or reject a nominee. Ms. Sotomayor is not expected to have much difficulty being confirmed, as the Senate is Democratic-Controlled. Obama has stated that he hopes to have the hearings in July, with the confirmation completed before Congress leaves for the summer.

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