- (Photo: AP / J. Scott Applewhite)
Sonia Sotomayor was sworn in on Saturday as the 111th Supreme Court justice.
In a brief ceremony at the court, the 55-year-old placed her left hand on a Bible, held by her mother, and pledged to "administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and ... faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me."
A federal judge for 17 years, Sotomayor had taken the judicial oath before. But Republicans and conservatives have questioned whether she has followed the oath on the federal bench.
Although Sotomayor said during her confirmation hearings that she has been guided by the law and not "empathy," as President Obama called it, Bruce Hausknecht, Focus on the Family Action's judicial analyst, says her judicial opinions, writings and speeches do not reflect that.
"[S]he painted herself as an opponent of the President's 'empathy' standard by which she was supposedly selected. The Sonia Sotomayor of her writings, speeches and affiliations over the last thirty years, however, is someone who believes that judges should lean on their personal life experience or ethnicity to make decisions," Hausknecht stated after the Senate confirmed her as the first Hispanic justice to be seated on the nation's highest court on Thursday.
Her personal achievement and testimony are compelling, Hausknecht said. But her lengthy federal judicial experience is not enough to qualify her, he added.
"Many are justifiably apprehensive concerning the potential for judicial activism with Justice Sotomayor, and are sobered by the realization that this is a lifetime appointment," he stated, according to CitizenLink, a publication of Focus on the Family.
Concerned Women for America president Wendy Wright says Sotomayor has a daunting challenge ahead of her as she begins her tenure on the Supreme Court.
"She carries the burden of the public's skepticism that she will follow the Constitution and law, not her ethnic experience or foreign laws, in her rulings," Wright said. "Her lifetime appointment will be a test as to whether she acted with integrity."
Sotomayor replaces Justice David Souter. She is only the third woman to serve on the high court.
The Supreme Court begins its new term on Oct. 5.