David G. Savage, “Sonia Sotomayor sworn in as Supreme Court justice,” Los Angeles Times, August 8, 2009
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-sotomayor-oath9-2009aug09,0,1155745.story
Chief Justice Roberts administers the oath on a quiet morning so she can begin work 'without delay,' he says. Her mother and family members are there to witness her becoming the court's first Latino.
10:29 AM PDT,

Reporting from Washington — Sonia Sotomayor became the 111th Supreme Court justice in the nation's history today, taking an oath to "administer justice without respect to persons and do equal right to the poor and to the rich."

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. administered the oath in a ceremonial conference room at the Supreme Court before a small gathering of Sotomayor's family and friends, and a handful of White House aides who had worked on her confirmation.

Roberts said the special swearing-in was arranged for a quiet morning so that Sotomayor could "begin her work as an associate justice without delay."

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy was the only other member of the court in attendance.

The new justice hugged her mother, Celina, who held the Bible for her, and then her brother, Juan Sotomayor, who stood with her.

Sotomayor actually took two oaths today, both of which are required of federal judges.

She first took the constitutional oath, which is required of all federal officers. She pledged to "support and defend the Constitution" and to "well and faithfully discharge the duties" of her office.

This oath was given in a private ceremony in the justices' conference room. Only the chief justice, Justice Kennedy and Sotomayor's immediate family members were present.

The judicial oath was taken before the larger gathering in the East Conference Room, and, for the first time, television cameras were there to broadcast it.

White House Counsel Greg Craig and Assistant Counsel Cynthia Hogan witnessed the swearing-in, along with Judge Robert Katzmann of the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals and Rep. Nydia M. Velazquez (D-N.Y.).

The judicial oath is familiar to Sotomayor. She took it twice before as a federal district judge in 1992 and a U.S. Court of Appeals judge in 1998. And in her Senate hearings, several of her Republican critics recited passages of the oath which call for doing "justice without respect to persons." They suggested that she, like President Obama, might feel "empathy" for certain persons and might rule in their favor on that basis.

Sotomayor replied that she had always been guided by the law, not personal sympathies.

In the past, some justices have taken the oaths at the White House, rather than at the court. Roberts took both oaths at the White House from senior Justice John Paul Stevens on Sept. 29, 2005.

Later, Stevens was quoted as saying that he thought it was inappropriate for justices to take the oaths at the White House standing before the president, because it suggested the justices were linked to the president, rather than independent.

Sotomayor is not done with ceremonial welcomes, however. She is due to be introduced at White House reception Wednesday, and the Supreme Court will hold a formal investiture ceremony for her on Sept. 8.

david.savage@latimes.com