Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor will lead the 60-second countdown to 2014 on Tuesday in New York City's Times Square. Sotomayor, a native New Yorker from the Bronx, will join the long list of politicos and celebrities who have led this tradition including Bill and Hillary Clinton, Colin Powell, Lady Gaga, and the Rockettes.
Sotomayor, however, will be the first Supreme Court justice to lead the countdown. Having her fill the role was an "inspirational and aspirational choice," according to event organizers.
Her story is undoubtedly uplifting. Sotomayor grew up in the South Bronx, attended Princeton University and then Yale Law School, made headway in the justice system and eventually landed in the Supreme Court, where she is first Hispanic justice.
In 2014, Sotomayor wants us all to "dream big." She is living proof that doing so can lead to success.
Here are five reasons why Sotomayor is the best person to ring in the new year:
Sotomayor made headlines this month for her role in a recent federal ruling that declared the NSA's bulk phone data collection program unconstitutional. In the case U.S. v. Jones, which involved warrantless use of a GPS tracker on a suspect's car, Sotomayor argued that technology has changed the meaning of privacy. "It may be necessary to reconsider the premise that an individual has no reasonable expectation of privacy in information voluntarily disclosed to third parties," she wrote in her concurrence. "This approach is ill suited to the digital age, in which people reveal a great deal of information about themselves to third parties in the course of carrying out mundane tasks."
George W. Bush-appointed Judge Richard Leon cited Sotomayor's concurrence when he ruled that the NSA's metadata gathering was likely unconstitutional, siding with civil libertarians.
The standard rags-to-riches story can get stale, but Sotomayor's meteoric rise from the South Bronx to the Supreme Court is pure inspiration.
The self-described Nuyorican went from growing up in the projects to attending Princeton on a full scholarship, then enrolled in Yale Law School — again, on a scholarship. She became the first Hispanic federal judge in New York state, and went on to become the first Hispanic Supreme Court justice.
In 2012, Sotomayor was in the majority that voted 5-3 to strike down key parts of Arizona's controversial immigration bill SB 1070. This included requiring all immigrants to carry immigration registration papers, paving the way for police to arrest suspected illegal immigrants without warrants.
In the notorious Citizens Unived v. Federal Election Commission, Sotomayor was one of four justices who disagreed with corporations having a First Amendment right to advertise their support for political candidates.
The 5-4 ruling eliminated restrictions that prevented corporations from buying campaign ads that would air days before an election. The 2010 ruling overturned previous Supreme Court decisions that upheld restrictions on corporate spending to influence state races.