President Barack Obama today tapped U.S. Circuit Judge Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court.

If confirmed by the Senate, the 54-year-old Sotomayor would be the first person of Hispanic descent to serve on the high court. She would succeed retiring Justice David Souter and join Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as one of two women on the court.

In announcing her nomination in the White House East Room, Obama said Sotomayor has more experience as a judge than any current member of the high court had when nominated, adding she has earned the “respect of colleagues on the bench.”

“Judge Sotomayor has worked at almost every level of our judicial system, providing her with a depth of experience and a breadth of perspective that will be invaluable to her as a Supreme Court justice,” Obama said.

Sotomayor grew up in a Bronx housing project after her parents moved to New York from Puerto Rico. She has dealt with diabetes since age 8 and lost her father at age 9, according to the Associated Press.

Said Sotomayor: “I firmly believe in the rule of law as the foundation for all of our basic rights.” She also promised “never forget the real-world consequences of my decisions.”

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