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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release June 25, 1997


The President today nominated Sonia Sotomayor to serve on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, New York.

Sotomayor, 42, is currently a sitting judge on the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. Judge Sotomayor was appointed to the bench by President Bush in 1992.

Born in New York, Judge Sotomayor was raised in a Bronxdale public housing project and attended Catholic schools. Both her parents were born in Puerto Rico. Her father, who was a tool-and-die worker with only a third-grade education, died when she was nine years old. Her mother worked as a nurse in a methadone clinic prior to her retirement. Because her father spoke only Spanish, Judge Sotomayor did not become fluent in English until after his death.

Sotomayor graduated cum laude from Princeton University (1976) and from Yale Law School (1979), where she was an editor of the Yale Law Journal. After graduating from law school, she worked for five years (1979-1984) as a prosecutor with the Manhattan District Attorney's office. She then practiced commercial litigation for eight years (1984-1992) with the Manhattan law firm of Pavia & Harcourt. While at the firm, she had a general civil litigation practice (specializing in intellectual property issues) in which she represented a number of U.S. and European companies.