(KCPW News) President Barack Obama's nomination today of federal appeals judge Sonia Sotomayor to become the nation's first Hispanic Supreme Court Justice drew praise from Hispanic community leaders in Salt Lake City. Archie Archuleta of the Utah Coalition of La Raza says the nomination was long overdue.
"Since we've been the largest minority group for the last 10 years, the fact that we are growing by leaps and bounds, the fact that there are many, many qualified Latinos in a variety of fields leads you to believe that this was long in coming," said Archulet.
According to the 2000 Census, Hispanics make up about 12.5% of the United States population. That number is expected to grow to roughly 25% by 2050, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
The Senate must now confirm Judge Sotomayor's nomination. Utah Senator Orrin Hatch, who is on the Senate Judiciary Committee and previously voted to confirm Sotomayor to the U.S. Court of Appeals, released a statement saying he will focus on "determining whether Judge Sotomayor is committed to deciding cases based only on the law as made by the people and their elected representatives, not on personal feelings or politics." Tony Yapias, director of Utah Proyecto Latino doesn't see politics affecting the way Sotomayor would do the job.
"I don't think there is question about her personal integrity with regards to whether or not she can judge a case based on the law or based on her personal experience. I think she's a judge and I think she will do the best to represent that," said Yapias.
If Sotomayor's nomination is approved, she would be the third female supreme court justice in history and the second on the current court, joining Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She is of Puerto Rican descent.