On May 1, 2009, Justice David H. Souter announced his intention to retire in June, giving President Barack Obama his first opportunity to impact the Supreme Court. On May 26, President Obama nominated Judge Sonia Sotomayor of the federal appeals court in Manhattan. Judge Sotomayor is poised to take her place in history, if she passes the nomination process. The nomination process is a vigorous, probing, and sometimes embarassing one that has created scandals and sparked controversies. If she is confirmed, which seems likely in view of the Democrats' solid majority in the Senate, she will be the court's first Hispanic justice and only its third woman.
Sonia Sotomayor has served as a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit since October 1998. She is also a Lecturer at Columbia University Law School and was also an adjunct professor at New York University Law School until 2007. Before she was promoted to the Second Circuit by President Clinton, she was appointed to the District Court for the Southern District of New York by President George H.W. Bush. She would replace Justice Souter as the only Justice with experience as a trial judge.