WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Senate will take up Judge Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation as the first Latina justice on the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday, the chamber's Democratic leader said Thursday.
"Tuesday, we're going to move to the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor," Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid said on the floor of the chamber.
Many senators were expected to want to speak on the historic nomination, making it unclear when a final confirmation vote would take place.
President Barack Obama's Democrats have, at least on paper, the 60 votes to hand her the lifetime appointment, and a handful of Republicans have said they will join them.
The Princeton- and Yale-educated jurist would be the second woman currently on the court, alongside Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and only the third to serve on the bench including retired justice Sandra Day O'Connor.
Sotomayor is not expected to tip the balance of the court if, as expected, she replaces retiring justice David Souter on the nine-seat high court that is the final arbiter of the U.S. Constitution.
But given the advancing age of some of the other justices, Obama appears likely to have the chance to fill another vacancy, leaving his imprint on the bench possibly for decades.
The court is called to decide some of the most contentious disputes in politics and society, including abortion, gun rights, freedom of speech, and controversial national security tactics.
© 2009 Agence France Presse. All rights reserved.