WASHINGTON – Sonia Sotomayor became the 111th U.S. Supreme Court justice in the nation’s history Saturday, taking an oath to “administer justice without respect to persons and do equal right to the poor and to the rich.”
Chief Justice John Roberts administered the oath in a ceremonial conference room at the Supreme Court before a small gathering of Sotomayor’s family and friends, and a handful of White House aides who had worked on her confirmation.
Roberts said the special swearing-in was arranged for a quiet morning so that Sotomayor could “begin her work as an associate justice without delay.”
Justice Anthony Kennedy was the only other member of the court in attendance.
The new justice hugged her mother, Celina, who held the Bible for her, and then her brother, Juan Sotomayor, who stood with her.
Sotomayor actually took two oaths Saturday, both of which are required of federal judges.
She first took the constitutional oath, which is required of all federal officers. She pledged to “support and defend the Constitution” and to “well and faithfully discharge the duties” of her office.
This oath was given in a private ceremony in the justices’ conference room.
The judicial oath was taken before the larger gathering in the East Conference Room, and, for the first time, television cameras were there to broadcast it.
Sotomayor is not finished with ceremonial welcomes; she is due to be introduced at a White House reception Wednesday, and the Supreme Court will hold a formal investiture ceremony for her Sept. 8.