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Sotomayor to be sworn in as justice on Saturday

Sonia Sotomayor, her family and friends are gathering at the Supreme Court for her swearing-in as the court's first Hispanic, third woman and 111th justice.

world Updated: Aug 08, 2009 16:57 IST

Sonia Sotomayor, her family and friends are gathering at the Supreme Court for her swearing-in as the court's first Hispanic, third woman and 111th justice.

Chief Justice John Roberts is to preside on Saturday at two ceremonies that will officially make Sotomayor a high court justice. Sotomayor, 55, has been a federal judge for 17 years. President Barack Obama nominated her in May to take the place of Justice David Souter, who has retired. The Senate confirmed Sotomayor's nomination Thursday by a 68-31 vote.

Before she can begin her new job, though, she has to take two oaths.

In a private ceremony in the justices' conference room, Roberts will administer an oath that the Constitution requires of all federal officials, to "support and defend" the Constitution. Then, in a public ceremony that is expected to be aired live on some cable networks, he will give Sotomayor a second oath in which she pledges to "administer justice" fairly and impartially, as prescribed by a 220-year-old federal law.

After that, the newest justice can get to work, although the court won't hear arguments until Sept. 9, in a key campaign finance case.

The entire court will convene a day earlier, however, for a formal ceremony to welcome Sotomayor. Many presidents have been on hand to see their nominees take their seat on the Supreme Court bench for the first time. President George W Bush attended Roberts' ceremony in October 2005.