- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 16, 2009

UPDATED:

Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor ended her final day of questioning Thursday before the Senate Judiciary Committee with promises from Democrats that her confirmation would be fast-tracked and a pledge from the panel’s top Republican that none of the GOP members on the committee planned to filibuster her nomination.

Republicans again peppered Judge Sotomayor, during the third-and-final round of questioning, about her views on gun control, abortion and race and gender issues.

But the final day of questions for the woman who would become the first Hispanic to sit on the high court ended with no fireworks.

The session closed with Frank Ricci, the public face of one of Judge Sotomayor’s controversial decisions, telling senators that the City of New Haven and the court system had reduced him and the 19 other firefighters to “racial statistics.”

The Supreme Court last month ruled in favor of Mr. Ricci and the other firefighters, who are white, narrowly overturning Judge Sotomayor’s decision.

“Making decisions on who should have command positions solely based on statistics and politics where the outcome of the decision could result in injury or death is contrary to sound public policy,” Mr. Ricci said.

The National Rifle Association, which kept its powder dry in the run-up to Judge Sotomayor’s hearings, officially opposed her nomination Thursday, the fourth and possibly final day of confirmation hearings.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy said he expected to have Judge Sotomayor confirmed to the bench before Congress recesses in August.

Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, ranking Republican on the panel, said he would not seek to block her nomination but wanted to wait until 10 days after the hearings concluded before holding a committee vote.

“I will not support and I don’t think any member of this side will support a filibuster or any attempt to block a vote on your nomination,” Mr. Sessions told her. “It’s a very important vote. We all need to take our time and think it through and cast it honestly, as the occasion demands. But I look forward to you getting that vote before we recess in August.

Mr. Sessions did not say whether he would vote against her, though at least one of the panel’s Republicans, Sen. Lindsey Graham, indicated he would consider supporting her.


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