Obama Nominates First Hispanic US Supreme Court JudgeWorld | May 26, 2009, Tuesday // 18:58| views
US President Barack Obama (L) announces his Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor (R), a 54-year-old appeals court judge from New York, speaks in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC.
US President Barack Obama has nominated Sonia Sotomayor to serve on the country's Supreme Court.
Sotomayor, 54, who has now to be approved by a Senate vote, would be the first Hispanic to take the position.
She would replace Justice David Souter, who announced his retirement from the top US court earlier this month.
Obama said he had chosen Sotomayor after an "exhaustive" process, and paid tribute to her as an "inspiring woman".
He said she would bring a "depth of experience and a breadth of perspective" to the role.
In an emotional acceptance speech, Sotomayor said her heart was "bursting with gratitude". "I am an ordinary person blessed with extraordinary opportunities and experiences - today is one of those experiences," she said.
If approved by the Senate, Sotomayor would join Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as the second woman on the current Supreme Court.
Sotomayor was raised on a housing estate in the Bronx, in one of New York City's most deprived areas.
She is said to have been inspired by the Perry Mason TV series to become a judge, and was educated at both Princeton and Yale.