05.27.09 6:27 AM ET
Only in America
I think it is really important that we continue to reiterate that Sonia Sotomayor is a brilliant jurist with vast legal and judicial experience: Her credentials are untouchable. Her personal story of extraordinary success achieved through hard work, intellectual prowess, and the support of her close-knit family is a uniquely American story.
There is no way of knowing how she’s going to rule once she’s on the court, but she brings a life experience that’s very different from that of any justice on the court today, coming as she does from humble beginnings. We are all products of our own life experiences. Does that life experience make a difference in how people view the world? Absolutely.
Here’s a woman whose life and accomplishments prove that only in the United States of America is her story possible. Only in the USA can you have a person of such humble beginnings rise to this level. This is an enormously important affirmation for girls. She’s already a role model to girls, particularly to girls in the Latino community and girls growing up in barrios around the United States.
Her nomination is also an immense moment of pride for the Latino community. It’s a validation in this country that all things are possible. I can tell you that as a Latina, this is a historic moment for our community.
Judge Sotomayor has an understanding of how the law the works and impacts ordinary Americans. Does it make a difference to women and girls? Absolutely. Does diversity matter? Absolutely. But all that has to be prefaced with the fact that she is an absolutely brilliant jurist.
Irasema Garza is president of Legal Momentum, formerly the NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund, the nation’s oldest legal defense and education fund dedicated to advancing the rights of all women and girls.