Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s voice may be the last you hear in 2013. The Bronx native has agreed to press the button that starts the descent of the New Year’s Eve ball in New York’s Times Square, and to lead the televised final 60-second countdown to 2014 tonight.
“Justice Sotomayor is an inspiration to many, and it is a privilege to welcome her to our celebration to ring in 2014,” Times Square Alliance President Tim Tompkins said in announcing the news. “Who better to join us in the crossroads of the world than one of New York’s own?”
“We are honored to have Justice Sotomayor join us as our special guest this year to lead the 60-second countdown to the New Year,” added Jeffrey Straus, president of Countdown Entertainment, which represents the owners of One Times Square. “She is an inspiration to everyone determined to achieve their dreams in 2014.”
The justice’s recent predecessors in the role include Lady Gaga and the Rockettes. Sotomayor’s assignment is a first for a Supreme Court justice, though other justices have played prominent parts in similar events. In 2005, Justice Antonin Scalia, another New York native, served as grand marshal for the city’s Columbus Day Parade. Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, since retired, was the grand marshal of the Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena in January 2006, a year after Mickey Mouse served in that role.