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Senate hearings for U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor

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Photo: Jason Reed/Reuters

More hard hitting questions today for U.S. Supreme Court nominee, Judge Sonia Sotomayor. The Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings for the New York federal appeals judge kicked off yesterday.  At the hearing, senators have called upon Sotomayor to express her views on a number of controversial issues, including abortion, gun rights, and race.

Today, Sotomayor was quizzed on a statement made in a 2001 speech, in which she said “a wise Latina” might make a better legal decision than a white male. Sotomayor explained she was trying to be encouraging to Hispanics and women when she made that remark. Some Republicans have leaped on the comment as racist. “I do not believe that any ethnic, racial or gender group has an advantage in sound judgment,” Sotomayor explained.

This morning, President Obama sent out a glowing e-mail about Sotomayor and her appearance before the senate committee: “In Judge Sotomayor, our nation will have a Justice who will never forget her humble beginnings, will always apply the rule of law, and will be a protector of the Constitution that made her American dream and the dreams of millions of others possible. As she said so clearly yesterday, Judge Sotomayor’s decisions on the bench ‘have been made not to serve the interests of any one litigant, but always to serve the larger interest of impartial justice.’ ”

If confirmed, Sotomayor would become the U.S. Supreme Court’s first Hispanic and only its third female justice. 

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