The lone woman on the Supreme Court, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg may finally be getting some company. President Obama nominated Federal Appeals Court Judge Sonia Sotomayor on Tuesday to a lifelong position on the Supreme Court and if confirmed, she will join the ranks of Sandra Day O'Connor and Ginsburg as the only females to serve on the nation's highest court. Ginsburg, 76, has held the solo distinction on the court since O'Connor retired three years ago. In an interview with USA Today before Justice David Souter announced his retirement, Ginsburg said that females on the Supreme Court should not be the "exception."
During a recent case before the court involving a young teenage girl and her classmate who were strip-searched at school, several of the male justices questioned if the school's actions constituted a strip-search. It was Ginsburg who referred to the events of the day as "humiliating" and said "I don't think there's any dispute what was done in the case of both of these girls...it wasn't just that they were stripped to their underwear. They were asked to shake their bra out, to -- to shake, stretch the top of their pants and shake that out."
President George W. Bush attempted to nominate a female to the higher court when he submitted the name of his White House legal counsel Harriet Miers to fill O'Connor's seat. However, his nominee came under fire from both liberals and conservatives for her lack of qualifications and record and even members of his own party decried the Miers nomination as a "disaster." Miers quickly withdrew her name just a few weeks after her selection.
In choosing the next Supreme Court nominee, President Obama seemed determined to fill the vacancy with a female. The President interviewed four women to fill the vacant bench seat: First female Solicitor General of the United States Elena Kagan, U.S. Court of Appeals Federal Judge Diane Wood, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and his ultimate choice, U.S. Court of Appeals Federal Judge Sonia Sotomayor. A senior White House official says the President was "very interested in her from the start." All four women were interviewed at the White House last week and the President informed Judge Sotomayor of his decision in a telephone call about 9pm on Monday.
While many in legal circles say Justice Souter's replacement would not change the ideological makeup of the bench, Sotomayor could certainly add a different perspective to the proceedings.