The Supreme Court was designed to be a key player in our Constitutional system of checks and balances. If Congress passed laws abrogating individual rights, the Supreme Court would strike down such laws. No more.
Today the Supreme Court is an ideological free-for-all; ideological judges like Sotomayor are appointed, not because of their knowledge or their love for the Constitution, but because of their willingness to help Congress subvert it. In Sotomayor's case, she has indicated that her judicial decisions will be, in part, based on her ethnic identity, her personal racial biases, and her "empathy" for one party over the other.
The final guardians of liberty have been compromised, perhaps fatally for the Republic.