On Tuesday, July 28th the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to approve President Barack Obama’s choice of Sonia Sotomayor as a United States Supreme Court Justice. She will be the 111th Justice in the 220 year history of this judicial body. Sotomayor will also be the first Hispanic supreme court justice. A brief biography of Sotomayor can be found on the official White House website.
Under Article II of the United States Constitution, the President of the United States has the authority to appoint justices, but they must be confirmed by a majority vote of the United States Senate. Article III of the Constitution establishes the judicial branch of the US Government. A full transcript of the Constitution and other historical American documents can be found on the National Archives website.
The Supreme Court of the United States is the country’s highest judicial authority. It was established in 1789, and consists of a Chief Justice and 8 Associate Justices. Justices have lifetime tenure, which terminates upon death, resignation, retirement, or conviction on impeachment charges. As one of the three branches of US government it plays a vital role in the identity of the United States.
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