After months of debate, the Senate confirmed Sonia Sotomayor as the 111th justice of the Supreme Court, making her the third female and first Latino member of the court. She was confirmed by a vote of 68-31, with nine of the "yes" votes coming from Republicans. The confirmation process for Sotomayor was a controversial and difficult one, with right-wingers and pundits attacking her as a "racist" and depicting her with rather appalling images such as this one. Further controversy happened when Obama urged her confirmation by citing what is now known as the "empathy standard." But Sotomayor contended this standard would not conflict with her role as an interpreter of the law, as the Los Angeles Times reports: Over three long days of confirmation hearings, Sotomayor pledged "fidelity to the law" and rejected the "empathy standard" that Obama invoked when the Supreme Court vacancy arose. The president had said that justices need to sometimes utilize empathy to understand the effect the court's decisions have on the lives of ordinary Americans. But Sotomayor broke with Obama over that notion, a moment her conservative critics said was particularly significant. So now, we turn the conversation to you. What are your thoughts and initial reactions to Sotomayor's confirmation? What would you like to see her accomplish as a justice? What will be the next big challenge facing the court?
Lindsay Eanet is an In These Times editorial intern and a journalism student at the University of Missouri.