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Sotomayor Begins Calling Key Senators

Updated 3:35 p.m.
By Shailagh Murray and Michael A. Fletcher
Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor launched her Senate outreach campaign today through phone calls to key Democrats and Republicans and will begin face-to-face meetings when lawmakers return to the Capitol next week.

Some previous nominees have paid visits to as many three quarters of senators, Democratic aides said, but Sotomayor's itinerary hasn't been worked out yet, according to White House spokesman Robert Gibbs. He told reporters this afternoon that Sotomayor had spoken to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), and the panel's ranking minority member, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.).

"I think the most effective advocate for making the case for the confirmation of Judge Sotomayor is, in fact, Judge Sotomayor," Gibbs said.

While Sotomayor works through her list of introductions, Leahy and Sessions must negotiate a hearing schedule that aims to give Republicans the ample time they are seeking to review the nominee's extensive legal record, while meeting President Obama's Aug. 7 deadline for confirmation. At the moment, Democratic officials who are participating in the process view the week of July 13 as the earliest date that hearings could start, with the nomination heading to the Senate floor about two weeks later. Cynthia Hogan, a veteran judiciary staffer and now chief counsel for Vice President Biden and White House liaison on the nomination, will meet with Democratic committee aides tomorrow to begin working out details, Senate officials said.

Sessions was noncommittal about the timing of proceedings in a Fox News interview this morning. "She should be ready by the October First, if she's confirmed," he said, a reference to the start of the Court's fall term.

Sotomayor's advocates note that she was confirmed by the Senate 10 years ago as a federal appeals judge, although her nomination was put on hold for a year, in part because Republicans wanted to prevent President Clinton from nominating her to the Supreme Court. GOP senators also raised questions about Sotomayor's record on federal sentencing guidelines.

On Oct. 2, 1998, 67 senators supported Sotomayor's nomination, but 29 senators -- all Republians -- voted against her. Among those opponents was Sessions, although the lawmaker acknowledged today that he couldn't remember any particular reason. "A number of concerns were raised," Sessions told Fox.

When Sotomayor returns to the committee, "It ought to be completely afresh, a de novo hearing, let her answer all her complaints and questions and talk about her record since that time," Sessions added.

Eleven of the 29 who voted no on Sotomayor remain in the Senate, including Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa). "I have no memories of that," Grassley said of the vote, in an interview with Iowa reporters.

Along with Grassley and Sessions, a third GOP member of the judiciary committee voted against Sotomayor in 1998: Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.). Now a top member of the Republican leadership, Kyl told Fox News this afternoon that he would be open minded about Sotomayor's new appointment. "We're going to examine her decisions, her opinions, the writings, what she has said in speeches, listen to the witnesses who testify before our committee," said Kyl. "We will view the FBI report, of course, and the (American Bar Association) recommendations. And with all of that information, make the appropriate decision."

But Grassley noted that confirmation hearings had stretched longer in recent decades and had become much tougher, most notably in the failed nomination of Robert Bork in 1987. "And consequently, all of the nominees, for the most part, have had very long and very thorough investigations compared to the first 200-year history of our country," said Grassley. "It's a precedent that is pretty deeply ingrained now and will apply to Sotomayor as it applies to other people and has applied to other people."

Sessions did note that the 11-8 partisan split on the committee made it highly unlikely that Sotomayor's nomination would fail to reach the Senate floor. "I don't want to, you know, predict what'll happen, but certainly, she'll have a lot of friends on that committee," Sessions told Fox.

By Web Politics Editor  |  May 27, 2009; 3:19 PM ET
Categories:  B_Blog , Supreme Court  
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Just cannont believe all this bashing of Sonia Sotomayor. Not to mention that which comes from the right. There was a time that I believed this type of person--fighting her way from the bottom up and making a difference would be embraced with adulation from Republicans. Where is the true GOP? In hiding!

Just cannot believe what I am hearing. Sorry, but I am impressed with her background and accomplishments. She makes a bold narrative for hard work and a tenacity to succeed.

Posted by: Victoria5 | May 28, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse






While the media is distracted by the "stories of the day," democracy is being stolen at the grassroots -- and the domestic TORTURE and gradual financial expropriation of the "unjustly targeted" continues unabated under an apparently "unaware" Team Obama.

Please read this:

OR (if link is corrupted / disabled):

Posted by: scrivener50 | May 27, 2009 10:51 PM | Report abuse

Graduating from Princeton, Yale, Harvard, Columbia, in the top of your class does not mean you have any common sense or practice impartiality. We already seen that proven wrong in the last 4 months.

Posted by: gsms69 | May 27, 2009 10:14 PM | Report abuse

Oh cr@p; there goes the country. Imagine that! A woman and minority who is more qualified than anyone currently serving as a Supreme Court Justice. much for the Republitard dream of dumbing down America.

Posted by: camera_eye_11 | May 27, 2009 8:19 PM
You race card has expired. Your gender card has expired.

Republicans are the party who freed the slaves, remember that. The only opposition Republicans have to this nominee is that she is an activist judge. PERIOD.

And I am beginning to think the ONLY reason folks like you support her are for the very reasons you decry other who disagree, based upon your desire to select someone purely for race and gender reasons.

Posted by: RealTexan1 | May 27, 2009 9:55 PM | Report abuse

For the second day, the same people who promoted Sarah Palin are attaching the qualification of a woman who gradated in the top of every class she was ever in (Princeton, Yale Law) and has adjudicated more federal cases that any nominee had for decades (include all who currently sit on the bench).

Posted by: case3 | May 27, 2009 9:50 PM | Report abuse

This unkept looking Pineapple should be disbarred from practicing at all.

How dare this Chalupa (300 pounder 3ft.) jeopardize the safety of peoples lives just to put a stupid black in a higher position.

We're talking firemattics where peoples lives are on the line.

Plus she looks as if she hasn't bathed in a couple years, see how greasy and unkept her is? This Chalupa woman needs to be deported.

Posted by: MrPotatoHead98 | May 27, 2009 9:28 PM | Report abuse

I just saw Mark McKinnon on Rachel. What a refreshing voice for the Republican Party. I know, it's shocking: refreshing and Republican in the same sentence. Once upon a time, the GOP had refreshing leaders. And then, hijacked by Newt, they went for the race to the bottom mentality. Who can out-right who? That was the strategy.

McKinnon rightly pointed out that what's happened is that while Rush's audience has grown, the GOP has shrunk. It will continue to do so. And, of course, he pointed out that Sotomayor is absolutely qualified to serve. The Obama White House is running the executive branch right now and as such, what the GOP should be pulling for is someone who is qualified. Obama isn't going to appoint an Alito.

What will be interesting is, assuming Sotomayor is confirmed, seeing Sotomayor and Alito go head-to-head. Apparently Alito was involved in some Princeton alumni group that opposed the expansion of women admissions at Princeton -- right around the time Sotomayor was at Princeton.

Posted by: teoandchive | May 27, 2009 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Much is being made of Judge Sotomayor's out-of-context statements eons ago about the wisdom of a latina woman over that of a white male person.

While I think she should (and will) explain herself, variety of backgrounds - not just legal experience, but also personal background - is critical. The founding fathers wanted us to be judged by a jury of our peers - persons that have an idea what our lives are like. That's just as valuable a trait to have around on the Supreme Court, too.

There are many, many extremely gifted candidates for the Supreme Court, male and female, black and asian, white and hispanic, possibly native. The difference in their legal competency scores is so minute as to be irrelevant.

The present 8/9 white, 8/9 male court begets the question of why it is that with so much talent on all sides, the (presumed race blind) nomination process came out so unbalanced.

In the face of this imbalance, it is entirely legitimate for the President to say: we have dozens of superbly qualified candidates. Given equivalent qualifications, I am going to pick somebody whose identity and breadth of experience brings something to the court it presently lacks.

Anno Hermanns

Posted by: anno2 | May 27, 2009 8:51 PM | Report abuse

Sotomayor will be a great judge. Scalia and Cheney can take her duck hunting in the Bronx. Judgement, like the inability of real racists to understand they have no right to kill 1.3 million Iraqis to suck the oil from their appendages. Ten more years is what your Army general said today because the world for Redneck is dan-ger-ous. You bake more terrorists in Iraq than Betty Bubba Crocker. The racists at The Hill are making jokes about Puerto Rican cooking. Redneck this: Since you Christians have aborted more than a million Iraqis in judgement of their culture and refer to your dead as barbaric, bipeds round the globe declare it is time for your Jesus Adopts a Barbecued Barbaric Iraqi Orphan for Bemusement Program to replace the black jockey in the tuxedo in the front yard with the ring through his nose. Judgement Day in the Republican Oil Plantation has postponed the next election to next year sometime. Judgement. Republican orbs of light nuclear armed Pakistan, 95 percent Muslim and then declare a war on who? Muslims. Dumber than a flatbed of spam, downhill with a tailwind. Republican. Sotomayor will be approved. The Iraqi Oil Gangbang will haunt Republicans, Big Oil and this nation, forever.

Posted by: rhyer | May 27, 2009 8:44 PM | Report abuse

Bork was 50 times more qualified than this mediocrity, yet the Dems tore him a new one in 20 minutes. One thing about Democrats - they hate with the best of 'em.

Posted by: birvin9999 | May 27, 2009 5:12 PM


Prove it or shut up.

You dumb@ss Republitarded piece of garbage.

Posted by: camera_eye_11 | May 27, 2009 8:21 PM | Report abuse

That a nominee for the US Supreme Court has to go on Campaign status is not only dismaying it is disgusting. This is not an election. Unfortunately, our Government is so broken and disfunctional even the White House janitor (excuse me, environmental managerial assistant) must be subjected to such scrutiny.

Posted by: sandynh | May 27, 2009 8:21 PM | Report abuse

Oh cr@p; there goes the country. Imagine that! A woman and minority who is more qualified than anyone currently serving as a Supreme Court Justice. much for the Republitard dream of dumbing down America.

Posted by: camera_eye_11 | May 27, 2009 8:19 PM | Report abuse

@ icurhuman2 - What about Zimbabwe???

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | May 27, 2009 8:12 PM | Report abuse

@zap - Yeah, they give out summa cum laude at Princeton to all the dunces.


Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | May 27, 2009 8:05 PM | Report abuse

Soon there wil be no need for us to judge one another. Our father will soon make clear judgement of our deeds, and, the hypocrisies we all embody will be forgiven.

The Day of Judgement, June 21st 2009, will end all dissent. Competition will become cooperation as we move toward godhood together as one. (when a god procreates it is a wonder to behold)

God bless America, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Australia etc... unto Zambia.

Every book is a bible, every song ever sung was a hymn, and, every creature that ever lived is a child of our father's invention.

As fiction always precedes fact it would behoove all of us to pay close attention to the movies coming out this season. Our father's art is not just in heaven.

A warning: it's likely to get a little crowded so expect a lot of guests, some of whom may not appear to be of this world.

your brother, bilbo A.K.A. icurhuman2

Posted by: icurhuman2 | May 27, 2009 7:57 PM | Report abuse

"Outreach?" You mean she is campaigning for the seat don't you? Not very indicative of a non-political, judicial temperament is it? And not very dignified.

Hopium Dopium

Posted by: JoeDBrown | May 27, 2009 7:55 PM | Report abuse


Whites are EXPECTED to be IMPARTIAL;


Minorities are Expected to be PREFERENTIAL!


Posted by: SAINT---The | May 27, 2009 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Sotomayor has been quoted as saying that she, because she is a hispanic woman, has a better perspective that a white man to decide cases. If she in fact made that statement she is either a fool for making an indefensible statement or a racist. Any white man up for political appointment would be DOA after making a similar comment. The liberal idea that "people of color" are inherently better than whites is a dangerous and stupid one.

Posted by: mhr614 | May 27, 2009 7:01 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who thinks that policy isn’t made on the Courts needs to pull his or her head out of the sand. Read an opinion because Justice Scalia, he has a belief system that government should operate a certain way and he rules that way. So does Ginsburg. This is not to say they ignore the law, rather they interpret vague statutes and clauses in different ways. Every justice has operated that way. Even John Marshall, who we revere as the father of the Supreme Court, ruled based on his beliefs about where the country should go. He invented the judicial review process with Marbury v. Madison (read the Constitution, it’s not in there) specifically to give the Court a strong role in shaping the law, and thus policy.

Posted by: adamobrian | May 27, 2009 7:00 PM | Report abuse

"Among those opponents was Sessions, although the lawmaker acknowledged today that he couldn't remember any particular reason. "
Of course

"Bork was 50 times more qualified than this mediocrity, yet the Dems tore him a new one in 20 minutes."

Bork was a guy whose wacky legal theories he described as "intellectual musings."

Posted by: edlharris | May 27, 2009 6:59 PM | Report abuse

While, I do not support Obama, I believe this pick should go through and Republicans should keep their powder dry for other battles. After all Obama is replacing a liberal with perhaps a less liberal.

When she said, “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion [as a judge] than a white male who hasn’t lived that life,” she was showing her racist character which will be a problem. While I disagree with her racist point about hispanic women and white men, I could have agreed with her thoughts if she had said women and men in general because women are more sensitive and understanding than men. Using white men in her comparison at least shows she believes white men have more intelligence than other races, so I take my hat off to her.

Posted by: tdl62 | May 27, 2009 6:53 PM | Report abuse

Isnt she also just plain dumb?

Posted by: zap123 | May 27, 2009 6:47 PM | Report abuse

Wow. Yet another Obamination. Racist to boot. WAFJ.

Posted by: zap123 | May 27, 2009 6:46 PM | Report abuse

Now they have Al the korean deli murderer Sharpton making radio ads for this Judge's appointment. That in of itself speaks volumes about this racist judge. They're using Sharpton because of her racist decision in Conn. choosing an unqualified black over a white and hispanic simply because he was black. This is a firehouse where the safety of people's lives are being used for politics.

If someones house is burning down you want the best qualified, not someone whose skin is black and did lousy on his exam.

Posted by: MrPotatoHead98 | May 27, 2009 6:15 PM | Report abuse

There's probably many reasons for Sotomayor not be a Supreme Court Justice but they all stem from these two reasons and in her own words:

"Courts are where policy is made"


“I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion [as a judge] than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”

For these statements alone, Sotomayor should not be anywhere NEAR the Supreme Court.

I believe what Sotomayor says and not what the media pimps say what they think she meant.

Posted by: ekim53 | May 27, 2009 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Sotomayar is an angry rascist bigot who is simply not a good legal mind. There is nothing wrong with pointing this out.

Posted by: SavedGirl | May 27, 2009 6:01 PM | Report abuse

It is apparent from the comments listed here and those of the few Republican Senators who have commented thus far that it wouldn't matter if Obama could dig up John Marshall, reanimate him and then nominate him, the Repugs would immediately start foaming at the mouth and screeching obscenities (in the name of god, no doubt). I do not know Ms. Sotomayor nor have I made an exhaustive study of her rulings, but I'm willing to allow the Constitution its due. The President nominates and the Senate gives advice and consent. Let the wheels of justice turn before you start your hysterical Unamerican, ideologically obvious rantings. Oh, and for those people who are so concerned about "activist judges", please read a book, not just a church pamphlet by the KKK . There are such things as conservative activist judges, after all. They're the ones who keep putting up the ten commandments with tax dollars, telling gay citizens they aren't equal to other ciitizens and endeavoring to justify a usurpation of the White House. The "activist" label cuts both ways.

Posted by: mcalvinlaw | May 27, 2009 5:32 PM | Report abuse


How would WaPo react to a nominee making that statement?

Posted by: pgr88 | May 27, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Here's a judge who ruled on race verses the best qualified within a fire company.

Now I ask, if your family is in a burning house do you want this judges decision based on race or do you want the best qualified?

It's that simple, she has no business being a judge period when she endangers peoples lives cause she's a racist.


Posted by: MrPotatoHead98 | May 27, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

she fights with other judges and on more than one occasion had to be told to shut up because the other judges would like to hear the attorney's talk.
she has said that being from puerto rico and a woman makes here a better judge than a white man.
can you imagine how the left would yell if a judge had said he was a better judge because he was a white man?
she thinks policy should be made by the court instead of judging. quess she slept through that part of law school.
she rules based on race even though the law and the facts dont show any.
the dems say even a qualified judge can be voted against becaue you dont like his belief systems - hencl lil boy hussein voted against a nominee.
the left will not thank you for voting for her. she will turn the supreme court into a neo communist system where the president tells her and the rest of the fellow travelers what to do.
if she does not get one republican vote in committee she will never get voted on the floor.

Posted by: infantry11b4faus | May 27, 2009 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Treetopflyer - Why the name calling? Speaks to the level od your maturity.

Based on this judge's fiasco in Conn. in which the court will rule against her she'll have a 70% failure rate.

Notice how libs are writing about her heritage and not her legal credentials?

Geez, I wonder why.


Posted by: MrPotatoHead98 | May 27, 2009 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Bork was 50 times more qualified than this mediocrity, yet the Dems tore him a new one in 20 minutes. One thing about Democrats - they hate with the best of 'em.

Posted by: birvin9999 | May 27, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse

I hope they oopose her. Like Obama, it doesn't matter if she is purple and a martian. If her views are the typical leftist "legislate from the bench BS" she should be opposed at all costs. Has nothing to do with race, but everything to do with safeguarding our Constitution.

Posted by: LarryG62 | May 27, 2009 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Crybaby Rethugs, you had your way for the last eight years.

"You can't always get what you want..."

You sang it to us with glee and malice during the Bush years. Now it's your turn to hear that tune. Karma's a b!tc#, ain't it? Kinda like a boomerang.

Posted by: treetopflyer | May 27, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse


Barry is a joke, his administration is a joke, his so called economic recovery plan is a huge joke. And this pick is right in line with hie string of jokes.

Posted by: ChangeWhat | May 27, 2009 4:34 PM "


The joke is all the right wing posts on the different message boards being the same post repeated over and over and over (...)

Posted by: tweldy | May 27, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Barry is a joke, his administration is a joke, his so called economic recovery plan is a huge joke. And this pick is right in line with hie string of jokes.

Posted by: ChangeWhat | May 27, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Any chance she makes a phone call to Newt Gingrich?

Posted by: parkerfl1 | May 27, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

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