That something is trial experience.
"She has more trial experience than anybody currently on the Supreme Court or even recently, at least since justice Thurgood Marshall."
Professor Michael Olivas says that experience is not only as a judge but also as a prosecutor in New York City.
And Olivas says Sotomayor has a history of bi-partisan support.
"She was appointed by a republican to the trial federal bench by the first President Bush and then promoted to the 2nd circuit by President Clinton."
As to the kind of Justice she'll make.
"I think that she will be a through and conscientious judge who writes well, who makes her points grounded in the law."
Olivas says only in America can a person of so humble a beginning rise to such a high office.
Rod Rice, KUHF Houston Public Radio News.