Judge Sonia Sotomayor has completed testimony to the Senate Judiciary
Committee considering her nomination for the U.S. Supreme Court. Sotomayor faced
additional tough questions but also drew some praise from Republican
Republicans who have been hard on Sotomayor for
remarks she made in various past speeches reiterated those concerns as
they questioned the nominee on Thursday.
Senator John Cornyn
said confusion remained about Sotomayor's views on the law, and her
view of the role personal background and beliefs play in the process of
Asked by Cornyn what he should tell his constituents
worried about apparent contradictions between her past comments and
testimony to the committee, Sotomayor repeated her "fidelity to the
law", and received this response from the senator.
"Look at my record and understand that my record talks about who I am
as a person, what I believe in and my judgment and my opinion that
following the rule of law is the foundation of our system of justice."
"Judge, I actually agree that your judicial record strikes me as pretty
much in the mainstream of judicial decision-making by district court
judges, and by court of appeals judges on the federal bench."
Senator Lindsey Graham said while Sotomayor's past speeches raise
concerns she might allow "gender and racial affiliations" to influence
her judgments on the Supreme Court, her explanations had been generally
"A lot of us wonder, will you take that line of
thinking to the Supreme Court in these cases of first precedent," he
said. "[But] you have been very reassuring here today, and throughout
this hearing that you are going to try and understand the difference
between judging and whatever political feelings you have about groups
Throughout the week-long hearing, Sotomayor
consistently avoided offering opinions on controversial legal and
constitutional issues, saying doing so could be seen as pre-judging
cases the Supreme Court might consider.
On same sex marriage,
Sotomayor said the issue is being hotly debated at every level of
American society, and while she would have an open mind on any case
coming before the court, to comment could be seen as bringing her own
personal views on the issue.
Sotomayor took the same approach on other issues, including abortion, gun rights, freedom of speech, and separation of powers.
who would be the first Hispanic to serve on the court, said she would
like to be seen by history as a fair judge, caring person and someone
who served her country, and had this observation about the impact her
accomplishments and her nomination might be having.
were born rich or poor, of any color or background, life's challenges
place hurdles every day and one of the wonderful parts of the courage
of America is that we overcome them, and I think that people have taken
that sense that on some levels I have done some of that at various
stages of my life," she said.
Committee chairman Senator Patrick
Leahy praised Sotomayor for answering questions with "intelligence,
grace and patience" during the long hearing.
experience and wisdom will benefit all Americans," he said. "And when
you walk under that piece of Vermont marble over the door of the
Supreme Court, speaking of equal justice under the law, I know that
will guide you."
After Sotomayor's appearance, the committee is
hearing from 31 witnesses invited by Republicans and Democrats to
testify about her judicial record, including former FBI director Louis
Freeh, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, as well as lawyers, gun
rights advocates, and anti-abortion activists.
Republicans are likely to vote against the nomination, Senator Leahy
said he believes she may pick up support from some republicans on the
committee, which is dominated by Democrats.
Leahy plans to call
a committee vote next Tuesday on Sotomayor's nomination, which would
send it to the full Senate for a vote, which he hopes will occur before
the August congressional break.