Obama, appearing in East Room of the White House during a celebratory introduction of Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, said the ascension of the court's first Hispanic justice is "an extraordinary moment for our nation" and brings the United States "yet another step closer to the more perfect union that we all seek."
Sotomayor, who Saturday was sworn into office as the nation's third female and 111th all-time Supreme Court justice, is proof that "no dream is beyond reach in the United States of America," rising from humble roots as the child of a single mother, Obama said.
In an emotional speech, Sotomayor said, "No words can adequately express what I am feeling. No speech can fully capture my joy in this moment."
Sotomayor, a federal judge from New York, replaced retired Justice David Souter on the high court. Critics questioned her impartiality based on her remark about the judgment that "a wise Latina" can bring to the bench, but the U.S. Senate, including nine Republicans, ultimately approved her nomination.