United States Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor visited Albany Law School on Monday, April 3. She met privately with students, spend time with the faculty, and addressed the law school community.
“This was an historic day for Albany Law School,” said Alicia Ouellette, Albany Law’s president and dean. “We are honored that our students, faculty, and community have the opportunity to meet Justice Sotomayor.”
Justice Sotomayor received the law school’s Kate Stoneman Award, presented annually by the law school to people in the legal profession who have demonstrated a commitment to seeking change and equal opportunities for women. The inaugural honoree was Chief Judge Judith Kaye in 1994. The award is named for Kate Stoneman, who in 1898 became the first woman to graduate from Albany Law School. Stoneman was also the first woman to pass the New York bar exam, but her application to become an attorney was denied because of her gender. She campaigned to change the rules and make women eligible for licensure as attorneys; her campaign succeeded, and she then became the first woman admitted to the bar in New York State.
On April 4, Justice Sotomayor will headline the University at Albany’s Speaker Series, discussing her autobiography, “My Beloved World,” which recounts her inspiring journey to the federal bench. That event is free and open to the UAlbany community.
Justice Sotomayor is the third woman and the first Latina to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. She was appointed to the position by President Barack Obama in August 2009. Born in Bronx, N.Y., on June 25, 1954, she graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University. In 1979, she earned a J.D. from Yale Law School, where she was an editor of the Yale Law Journal. She served as Assistant District Attorney in the New York County District Attorney’s Office from 1979–1984. She then litigated international commercial matters in New York City at Pavia & Harcourt, where she served as an associate and then partner from 1984–1992. In 1991, President George H.W. Bush nominated her to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, and she served in that role from 1992to 1998. She served as a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit from 1998 to 2009. President Barack Obama nominated her as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court on May 26, 2009, and she assumed that role on August 8, 2009.