There was a celebration at the White House for the first Hispanic justice of the U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday. Family, friends, members of Congress, fellow judges and leaders of the Hispanic community joined President Barack Obama in applauding Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
There were loud cheers in the White House East Room, as President Obama and Justice Sotomayor walked in.
President Obama said there are many reasons to celebrate.
"We celebrate the impact Justice Sotomayor has already had on people across America who have been inspired by her exceptional life story," said Mr. Obama. "We celebrate the greatness of a country in which such a story is possible."
Sonia Sotomayor was raised in government-subsidized housing in New York City by parents who came from Puerto Rico in search of a better life. Her father died when she was a young girl, and her mother worked long hours to support her two children, while instilling in them a love of learning.
Sotomayor went on to win scholarships to prestigious universities, and launch a successful legal career. President Obama said she has become a role model for others.
"This moment is not just about her," said Mr. Obama. "It is about every child who will grow up thinking to him or herself, 'if Sonia Sotomayor can make it, then maybe I can too'."
The newest Supreme Court justice was confirmed by the U.S Senate last Thursday, and took the oath of office on Saturday.
In her brief remarks, she spoke about her modest upbringing, and the country that made her dreams possible.
"It is this nation's faith in a more perfect union that allows a Puerto Rican girl from the Bronx to stand here now," she said.
Sotomayor, who is the third woman to sit on the high court, said she is struck by the wonder of her own life. She said she is deeply humbled by the responsibility of upholding the nation's laws, and she asked all Americans to wish her divine guidance and wisdom in her new office.