Sotomayor opponents in weak field position so far
Obama's high-court pick is no 'stealth candidate.' She has made some 450 judicial decisions. What's more, she has not been shy about expressing her opinions publicly.
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"Whether born from experience or inherent physiological or cultural differences,… our gender and national origins may and will make a difference in our judging," she said.Skip to next paragraph
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In her talk, she disagreed with an approach to judging expressed by former Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, the first woman to serve on the US Supreme Court. Justice O'Connor was frequently quoted as saying that a wise old man and a wise old woman would reach the same conclusion in deciding cases.
"I'm not so sure that I agree with the statement," Sotomayor said. "I would hope a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life."
This comment, combined with her Duke University comment, will probably form the nucleus of any attempt to defeat Sotomayor's nomination. At a minimum, it will spark an exploration of different visions of the role of judges among Republicans and Democrats, jurists and politicians.
White House officials encouraged the examination of Sotomayor and her statements in the broader context. "If one looks closely at [nearly] 17 years of judicial opinions, you'll see that this is not someone that you can reasonably argue advocates or is engaged in legislating from the bench," Mr. Gibbs said.
Ultimately, it will be up to Sotomayor to defend her nomination. She began that task on Tuesday with her first public comments.
She cited her work as a prosecutor, corporate lawyer, trial judge, and appeals-court judge. "This wealth of experiences, personal and professional, helped me appreciate the variety of perspectives that present themselves in every case that I hear," she said. "I strive never to forget the real-world consequences of my decisions on individuals, businesses, and government."
Sotomayor added: "I hope that as the Senate and the American people learn more about me, they will see that I am an ordinary person who has been blessed with extraordinary opportunities and experiences."