STEVE PETTEWAY—COLLECTION OF SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES/AP
Sonia Sotomayor made history in 2009 when she became the first Hispanic American to become a U.S. Supreme Court Justice. She is also only the third female Justice to serve on the nation's highest court.
Sotomayor’s parents moved from Puerto Rico to New York City where she was born in 1954. She was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when she was 8, which requires her to monitor her blood sugar and take insulin. Sotomayor's father died when she was 9, so her mother raised Sotomayor and her brother on her own in a working-class neighborhood.
Sotomayor was at the top of her class in high school and graduated from Princeton University with the highest honors. Then she attended Yale Law School. Sotomayor’s mother taught her and her brother that a good education is the key to success in America.
Sotomayor went on to work in the district attorney's office in New York City and at a private law firm. In 1992, Sotomayor was appointed a federal district judge. In 1998, she joined the U.S. Court of Appeals, which reviews cases from lower courts.
President Obama nominated Sotomayor, 55, to be a Justice on the Supreme Court in May. Obama praised Sotomayor for facing down barriers and overcoming odds. He believes her background will make her a great Justice. Sotomayor was approved by the U.S. Senate, and on September 8, became the 111th Justice of the nation's highest court.
For making history as the first Hispanic American Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, Sonia Sotomayor is a nominee for TFK Person of the Year 2009.