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Would it be Sotomayor? Or was it Cardozo? - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

Would it be Sotomayor? Or was it Cardozo?

WASHINGTON (AP) - The first Hispanic on the Supreme Court? There are some who say it wouldn't be Sonia Sotomayor. But the jury is still out on that.

Back in 1932, Benjamin Cardozo joined the court, after being nominated by President Herbert Hoover.

There's no doubt that he was the second Jewish justice, after Louis Brandeis. But was he the first Hispanic?

The Federal Judicial Center, on its Web site, says he wasn't.

But a Harvard professor and Cardozo biographer, Andrew L. Kaufman, says, "it's all in the context."

Kaufman says Cardozo's ancestors came to the American colonies in the 1700s from England and Holland -- and that nobody has ever firmly established that the family's roots were in Portugal.

Some definitions of Hispanic include people from Portugal and Portuguese-speaking cultures, while others don't.

Kaufman adds that Cardozo probably never had occasion to consider whether he was Hispanic -- because it just wan't a term that was commonly used at the time.

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