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Puerto Ricans cheer Sotomayor's swearing-in


Sonia Sotomayor arrives to be sworn in as the Supreme Court's first Hispanic justice and
only the third woman in the court's 220-year history, in Washington, Saturday, Aug. 8, 2009.
The Senate confirmed Sotomayor's nomination Thursday by a 68-31 vote.
J. Scott Applewhite / AP Photo

By DAVID McFADDEN
Associated Press Writer


SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- Puerto Ricans cheered Sonia Sotomayor's swearing-in Saturday as the first Hispanic on the U.S. Supreme Court, calling her rise to the nation's highest court a huge source of pride in the U.S. territory. Many tuned into the brief swearing-in ceremony, and photographs of Sotomayor, who was born in New York to Puerto Rican parents, were splashed across the Caribbean island's daily newspapers. Linda Carrion Moreno made sure her two young daughters knew all about the self-described "Nuyorican," who grew up in a South Bronx housing project and was educated in the Ivy League. "Making sure that my girls know that this 'Latina inteligente' has made it to the top was important to me," said Carrion, who recently returned home after living for years in the U.S. She referred to the infamous Sotomayor remark that she hoped a "wise Latina" would often reach better conclusions than a white male who hadn't lived a similar life. At her swearing-in, Sotomayor pledged to defend the Constitution and administer impartial justice. The 55-year-old is the third female justice in the court's 220-year history. Sotomayor's rise was a "small step for a Puerto Rican woman, but a great leap for Hispanics," said Kenneth McClintock, Puerto Rico's secretary of state and a member of the governing party, which wants the island to become the 51st state. "One more example that the American dream is available for all," added Pedro Pierluis, Puerto Rico's delegate to Congress. Sotomayor was born in 1954, about the time of a large, post-World War II influx of Puerto Ricans to New York. She has kept close ties with the island, visiting frequently to see relatives and offer lectures. Her father, who died when she was 9, was from the Santurce area of San Juan, Puerto Rico's capital. Her mother, a nurse, hails from Lajas, a mostly rural area on the southwest coast. Many of Sotomayor's cousins live around the western city of Mayaguez.

 

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