Sonia Sotomayor Begins Tenure as a Federal District Court Judge

New York is now officially in line to have the its first Hispanic woman as a Federal District Court judge.

President Bush last week sent to the United States Senate the name of Sonia Sotomayor, a 37-year-old lawyer who worked from 1979 to 1984 as an assistant District Attorney in Manhattan, to fill a vacancy in the Southern District, which includes Manhattan, the Bronx and Westchester County. She had been recommended for the position last March by Senator Daniel P. Moynihan.

What Ms. Sotomayor has wanted was to be a judge. Next Friday she is to take the oath for a seat on the Federal court of the Southern District of New York, the first Hispanic American to do so. She will also become one of seven women among the district's 58 judges.

But what attaches to her name in legal circles is less her breakthrough status than incredulity: Many of her colleagues say that in a time of skepticism about the quality of judicial appointments, Ms. Sotomayor seems too good to be true. A Child of From the Projects