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Sotomayor sworn in as US Supreme Court justice

world Updated: Aug 09, 2009 11:24 IST
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Sonia Sotomayor was sworn in on Saturday as US Supreme Court justice, becoming the first Hispanic justice at the country's apex court.

The 55-year-old appeal court judge from New York was sworn in at a televised ceremony held at the Supreme Court. Chief Justice John Roberts administered the ceremony.

"I, Sonia Sotomayor, do solemnly swear that I will administer justice without respect for persons, and do equal rights to the poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all of the duties incumbent upon me as associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, under the constitution and laws of the United States, so help me God," Sotomayor repeated the oath of office after Roberts.

The ceremony was the first one of its kind to be televised in the country's history.

Sotomayor was born to Puerto Rican parents in Bronx in New York. After her father died when she was only nine, her mother, a nurse, raised her two children alone on a modest salary.

She earned her Bachelor's degree from Princeton University and obtained her Juris doctorate degree from Yale Law School, where she also served as an editor of the Yale Law Journal.

Widely considered to be a political centrist, Sotomayor was nominated by former Republican president George H.W. Bush in 1991 for the US District Court for Southern District of New York. Afterwards, former Democratic president Bill Clinton appointed her to the seat she held until today as judge on the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals.

Selecting Sotomayor was considered to be a political compromise because she appealed to Latinos, women and political independents, three major support groups for Obama's presidential campaign.

However, Sotomayor was not expected to bridge the ideological divide of the Supreme Court, since she and her predecessor, Justice David Souter, were both slightly left-centered.