Latinos Celebrate Sotomayor Confirmation

Lalo Alcaraz
Political cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz with his daughter Paloma. Alcaraz drew a popular cartoon of Palmona playing a judge in her bedroom.

For Latinos watching the Sotomayor confirmation, it was a collective sense of arrival, bursting with pride at celebrations all around the country, reports CBS News correspondent Sandra Hughes.

Hispanics are more than 15 percent of the population, but they have less than four percent of the lawyers, and only three percent of the judges.

Thursday, Sonia Sotomayor took the nation's Latinos across a new threshold.

"It is entry into the most private of clubs in the country," said Antonia Hernandez, a high-profile civil rights and immigration attorney.

Hernandez is a power player herself, but when she started out, she had zero Latina role models.

"One of my first cases, when I went into court, the bailiff said, 'That way!' and then pointed to a certain part of the courtroom and that's where the interpreters sat," Hernandez said.

Judge Sotomayor's life story is so familiar to so many Latinas, they've taken her controversial comment about a "wise Latina" making better decisions than a white man and turned it into a rallying cry- complete with T-shirts available online.

A cartoon by nationally-syndicated cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz has become a hot seller in art galleries.

Usually known for biting political commentary, this time he has reacted as a dad.

"It's my daughter Paloma, who I drew as a judge playing in her bedroom," Alcaraz said. The cartoon also has her stuffed bear, Pepito, on the witness stand.

Alcaraz, whose parents were Mexican immigrants, says he knows what the Sotomayor appointment will mean for his little girl.

"We need to have our people that can show concretely, 'Yes! We can do it!'" Alcaraz said.

Alcaraz is hoping that this confirmation bodes well for Paloma's future.

"When she grows up she'll ask me, 'It was an oddity to have a Latina as a judge in the Supreme Court?'" Alcaraz said.

And he hopes he can say, "Not anymore."