Sotomayor Explains 'Wise Latina' Comment
By Robert Barnes, Amy Goldstein and Jerry Markon
Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor this morning emphatically disavowed an earlier statement that implied she allowed her ethnicity to affect her judgment from the bench, as she found herself being grilled by the leading Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee on the second day of her confirmation hearings.
Sotomayor was quickly put on the defensive as Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) pounded some of her lower court rulings and a statement in a speech to students about the perspective a "wise Latina" could bring to judicial decisions. Sessions said Sotomayor "clearly" lets her background and personal feelings affect her decisions.
The comment was "a rhetorical flourish that fell flat," President Obama's nominee said in one of several attempts to explain herself, none of which seemed to satisfy Sessions. She added, "It was bad, because it left an impression that I believe that life experience commands a result in a case, but that's clearly not what I do as a judge, clearly not what I intended."
At the opening of the hearing, committee chairman Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) tried to defuse the anticipated questioning by allowing Sotomayor more friendly opportunities to explain the controversial parts of her record.
Web Politics Editor
July 14, 2009; 10:27 AM ET
Categories: Video Report
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