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Day two wrap-up: What they said

July 15, 2009

Here’s a brief recap of the second day of the Sonia Sotomayor Supreme Court confirmation hearing.  Make sure you come back to the blog tomorrow morning for the third day of the live webcast.  The hearing begins at 9:30.

Judge Sotomayor on her “wise Latina remark.”:

“It left an impression that life experience commanded a result in a case but that’s clearly not what I do as a judge,” Sotomayor said under questioning by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“I want to say up front, unequivocally and without doubt, I do not believe that any ethnic racial or gender group has an advantage in sound judging,” Sotomayor said. “I do believe that every person has an equal opportunity to be a good and wise judge regardless of their background or life experience.”

She also pushes back hard on her percieved racial bias.

One of the best exchanges of the day, courtesy of senator Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.). (note:  senator Graham also had the other exchange as well which I will discuss in detail at the end of the week)

Sen. Lindsey Graham said Sonia Sotomayor’s temperament  “sticks out like a sore thumb” compared to other judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York.

Sotomayor said she asks “tough questions in oral argument” and there are a lot of lawyers “who are unfamiliar with the process in the Second Circuit” that they find “difficult and challenging.”

“If I may interject here, is that they find you difficult and challenging,” Graham said. “Do you think you have a temperament problem?”

“No, sir,” Sotomayor said. “I can only talk about what I know about my relationship with the judges of my court and with the lawyers who appear regularly from our circuit.”

Graham acknowledged she’s had plenty of statements in support of her nomination, but he brought up the perception reportedly among some that she’s “bully.”

But Graham added that he still may vote for her in the end.

“I like you,” Graham said. “Since I may vote for you, that ought to matter.”

But he added that he’s more concerned with her speeches than her record.

“Don’t become a speech writer if this law thing doesn’t work out,” Graham said.

Senator Graham impressed me today with his legal acumen, and even temperament.  He questioned Sotomayor with the precision of a surgical laser, and he did it without bluster and pomposity.  Kudos to you sir.

I’ll have more tomorrow.

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