Today, Judge Sonia Sotomayor became Justice Sotomayor — the first Hispanic Supreme Court Justice.  

WVFC has been watching these weeks before her confirmation with great interest — with news blogs as President Obama chose her and a sharp commentary by Diane Vacca of the deep sexism in the media’s treatment of the third female Justice in history.

Late last week, the Senate confirmed her by a vote of 68 to 31; Senator Lindsey Graham, who had been a harsh questioner during confirmation hearings, voted in favor, while Senator Sessions and former Presidential candidate John McCain lined up with the rest in opposition. (Watch a video of Al Franken’s announcement here.)

Justice Sotomayor started work today with a very full plate. Bloomberg News outlines some of what’s coming up right away:

Her first test will come Sept. 9, when the justices hear an unusual second round of arguments in a campaign finance case to consider overturning the century-old ban on corporate political giving. The case concerns a documentary film critical of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, then a candidate for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.

Later in its 2009-10 term, which formally starts in October, the court will consider the ability of private citizens to sue over religious monuments on public property, determine the constitutionality of a government agency that oversees the accounting industry, and consider whether youths can be sentenced to life in prison for crimes other than murder.

In addition, notes Amy Davidson at The New Yorker, the judge who ended the baseball strike is not quite through with baseball, as Major League Baseball’s exclusive contract with Topps for “approved” baseball cards is up for examination:

Since when are such monopolies legal? As it happens, the Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case addressing that very question, American Needle v. N.F.L., this fall. It concerns the N.F.L. and hats, but could have big implications—an columnist said it “could easily be the most significant legal turning point in the history of American sports.” Sotomayor has already saved baseball; can she now save baseball cards?

We’re guessing that after 17 years on the bench, facing off with Major League Baseball, and keeping her cool as the Senate Judiciary Committee made her answer the same questions over and over, the hard, essential work of the Court will feel like a breeze. We look forward to hearing about her as we watch the next session of the Court.

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