After narrowing the field to four options over the long weekend, Obama has settled on Second Circuit Court of Appeals judge Sonia Sotomayor as his pick to replace outgoing Supreme Court justice David Souter. In being confirmed by the Senate, Sotomayor, 54, would be the third woman in the history of the United States to sit on the bench, and the first Hispanic. Born to Puerto Rican parents in a housing project in the South Bronx, Sotomayor worked her way through Princeton and Yale Law School, and was appointed to the U.S. District Court in New York's Southern District by George H.W. Bush, and later to the Second Court of Appeals by Bill Clinton, where she met her first real Republican resistance. While the GOP has vowed resistance against judges they view as "activists," with their weak position in the Senate at the moment, it's not expected they'll accomplish much against an Obama nominee. The president has said he's hoped to find a nominee with empathy and the skill of "understanding and identifying with people's hopes and struggles." "You have to have not only the intellect to be able to effectively apply the law to cases before you," he told C-SPAN. "But you have to be able to stand in somebody else's shoes and see through their eyes and get a sense of how the law might work or not work in practical day-to-day living." The other candidates he was considering as of this weekend were Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano, Federal Appeals judge Diane P. Wood, and solicitor general Elena Kagan.
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