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Associated Press, Published May 27 2009

Selected remarks by Obama, Sotomayor

The following excerpts are remarks by President Barack Obama and Judge Sonia Sotomayor, who Obama nominated Tuesday to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Excerpts of remarks President Obama:

“While there are many qualities that I admire in judges across the spectrum of judicial philosophy, and that I seek in my own nominee, there are few that stand out that I just want to mention.

“First and foremost is a rigorous intellect – a mastery of the law, an ability to hone in on the key issues and provide clear answers to complex legal questions. Second is a recognition of the limits of the judicial role, an understanding that a judge’s job is to interpret, not make, law; to approach decisions without any particular ideology or agenda, but rather a commitment to impartial justice; a respect for precedent and a determination to faithfully apply the law to the facts at hand.

“I have decided to nominate an inspiring woman who I believe will make a great justice: Judge Sonia Sotomayor of the great state of New York.

“Over a distinguished career that spans three decades, Judge Sotomayor has worked at almost every level of our judicial system, providing her with a depth of experience and a breadth of perspective that will be invaluable as a Supreme Court justice.

“It’s a measure of her qualities and her qualifications that Judge Sotomayor was nominated to the U.S. District Court by a Republican President, George H.W. Bush, and promoted to the Federal Court of Appeals by a Democrat, Bill Clinton. Walking in the door she would bring more experience on the bench, and more varied experience on the bench, than anyone currently serving on the United States Supreme Court had when they were appointed.

“Along the way she’s faced down barriers, overcome the odds, lived out the American Dream that brought her parents here so long ago. And even as she has accomplished so much in her life, she has never forgotten where she began, never lost touch with the community that supported her.

“What Sonia will bring to the Court, then, is not only the knowledge and experience acquired over a course of a brilliant legal career, but the wisdom accumulated from an inspiring life’s journey.

“Well, Sonia, what you’ve shown in your life is that it doesn’t matter where you come from, what you look like, or what challenges life throws your way — no dream is beyond reach in the United States of America.

“And when Sonia Sotomayor ascends those marble steps to assume her seat on the highest court of the land, America will have taken another important step towards realizing the ideal that is etched above its entrance: Equal justice under the law.

Excerpts of remarks by Sotomayor:

“My mother has devoted her life to my brother and me, and as the President mentioned, she worked often two jobs to help support us after Dad died. I have often said that I am all I am because of her, and I am only half the woman she is.

“I chose to be a lawyer, and ultimately a judge, because I find endless challenge in the complexities of the law. I firmly believe in the rule of law as the foundation for all of our basic rights. For as long as I can remember, I have been inspired by the achievement of our Founding Fathers. They set forth principles that have endured for more than two centuries. Those principles are as meaningful and relevant in each generation as the generation before. It would be a profound privilege for me to play a role in applying those principles to the questions and controversies we face today.

“I hope that as the Senate and the American people learn more about me they will see that I am an ordinary person who has been blessed with extraordinary opportunities and experiences. Today is one of those experiences.”