Disability advocates are encouraged by President Barack Obama’s nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, saying that the current appeals court judge’s rulings show an understanding of disability and the rights of people who have disabilities.

Obama announced his nomination of Sotomayor Tuesday to replace Justice David Souter who plans to retire at the end of the court’s current session. Sotomayor now must be confirmed by the Senate. If confirmed, she will become the first Latino member of the court.

“Based on our preliminary analysis of Judge Sotomayor’s extensive record on the bench, we are encouraged that she may be the champion we have been looking for,” said Andrew J. Imparato, president and CEO of the American Association of People with Disabilities. “Her jurisprudence in the disability area shows that she has a good understanding of the real life implications of her decisions and sees the important connections between disability rights laws and other civil rights laws.”

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As a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals, Sotomayor considered cases related to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) as well as the Social Security and Medicaid programs, according to an analysis of her rulings from the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law.

Over the years, the Supreme Court has weighed in on numerous issues impacting Americans with disabilities in regard to education, employment, accessibility and other civil rights.

Most recently, the current Supreme Court is considering a case centering on whether or not children with disabilities must try public school before their parents can seek reimbursement for a private educational placement. In 2006, Sotomayor was part of a panel of judges that sided with parents in a case looking at this same issue.