Bay Area political leaders Tuesday praised President Obama's nomination of federal appeals court judge Sonia Sotomayor to replace retiring Justice David Souter and become the nation's first Hispanic Supreme Court justice.
Following Obama's announcement Tuesday morning, the White House issued a statement saying, "Her American story and three-decade career in nearly every aspect of the law provide Judge Sotomayor with unique qualifications to be the next Supreme Court justice."
Barring a Republican filibuster or an unforeseen circumstance, Sotomayor's nomination appears to be secured.
Howard Epstein, chairman of the San Francisco Republican Party, is convinced Sotomayor will receive confirmation but is doubtful about her decision-making abilities.
"She looks like a very activist judge and one who would rather make law than enforce the law as written," Epstein said.
Among Democrats, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein commended Obama for choosing a "solid and tested woman as his nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court."
"The nomination is clearly historic in that she would be the first Latina, and the third woman ever, to sit on the Supreme Court," Feinstein said. "I know there are those who will try to delay this nominee. However, I believe it is important that she has a clear opportunity for a fair and open nomination process, and that her nomination can move rapidly to the floor of the Senate and be confirmed."
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom's office issued a statement saying, "The mayor is very pleased with the nomination of Judge Sotomayor. It is an historic day for all Americans."
Dennis Herrera, who in 2001 became the first Latino elected as San Francisco's city attorney, also lauded Obama's choice.
The daughter of Puerto Rican immigrants, Sotomayor ascended to the federal bench from the depths of a New York housing project. Her love of Nancy Drew novels helped propel her into a career in law.
Sotomayor is a graduate of Princeton University and Yale Law School. She was promoted to the Second Circuit by former President Bill Clinton and appointed to the District Court for the Southern District of New York by former President George H.W. Bush.