Sotomayor vows ‘fidelity to the law’

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While none of Judge Sotomayor’s public speeches or rulings has proved enough to derail her nomination, Republican lawmakers have found traction with her “wise Latina woman” comment.

The committee’s top Republican, Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, stuck to that tack, issuing his sharpest condemnation of Judge Sotomayor’s public comments without directly saying he would vote against her.

“I feel we’ve reached a fork in the road, I think, and there are stark differences,” Mr. Sessions said. “I will not vote for, and no senator should vote for, an individual nominated by any president who is not fully committed to fairness and impartiality toward every person who appears before them.”

Mr. Sessions’ staff distributed packets of five of Judge Sotomayor’s speeches with highlighted passages detailing her statements about the influence of personal experience, gender and ethnicity on decision-making.

But Democrats said it would be impossible to divorce judgment from history.

“Now, unfortunately, some have sought to twist her words and her record and to engage in partisan political attacks,” Mr. Leahy said. “Ideological pressure groups began attacking her even before the president made his selection. They then stepped up their attacks by threatening Republican senators who do not oppose her.”

Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, Utah Republican, reached back to 2005 as well, when Mr. Obama, then a senator from Illinois, outlined his reasons for voting against confirming Judge Janice Rogers Brown to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

“Senator Obama called it ‘offensive and cynical’ to suggest that a nominee’s race or gender can give her a pass for her substantive views,” Mr. Hatch said. “He proved it by voting twice to filibuster Judge Janice Rogers Brown’s nomination, and then by voting against her confirmation.”

Senators open their questioning of Judge Sotomayor on Tuesday morning and are likely to continue into Wednesday, as each member gets a half-hour to prod the nominee.

Judge Sotomayor would be the third woman on the Supreme Court, if approved by the Senate.

About the Author
Tom LoBianco

Tom LoBianco

Tom LoBianco has covered energy and environmental policy, including the climate change bill making its way through Congress. From 2007 to 2008, he covered Maryland politics from the Times’s Annapolis bureau. Tom hold’s a master’s degree in political science from Northeastern University and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park. He spent two and a ...

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