President Barack Obama was careful to stay away from Sonia Sotomayor's swearing-in at the Supreme Court on Saturday, to underscore the independence of the Court. This morning, though, Obama hosted a festive and emotional reception at the White House to celebrate her ascension to the high court. Savoring a happy event amid generally mixed news on health care reform and other fronts, Obama said Sotomayor's presence on the Court represents "yet another step closer to the more perfect union we all seek." He added, "This is a great day for America."
With Sotomayor standing at his side in the East Room, Obama spoke at length of Sotomayor's only-in-America story of growing up as a poor Latina girl in the Bronx, raised by a single mother, and achieving excellence in academia and in her professional life as a prosecutor, lawyer and judge.
"While this is Justice Sotomayor's achievement –- the result of her ability and determination -– this moment is not just about her," the president said. "It's about every child who will grow up thinking to him or herself, 'if Sonia Sotomayor can make it, then maybe I can, too.' It's about every mother or father who looks at the sacrifices Justice Sotomayor's mother made, and the successes she and her brother have had, and thinks, I may not have much in my own life, but if I work hard enough, maybe my kids can have more."