Rep. Michael Grimm, who agreed to be interviewed after the State of the Union address, threatened the reporter after the latter asked him about a federal investigation into his campaign finances.
Because Obama has avoided engaging the empathy debate, Republicans tried to use Kagan's mentor and former US Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall as a way to taint Kagan's reputation.
Liberals cheered the first Hispanic justice, but conservatives say Sotomayor ultimately backed away from a liberal view of the Constitution.
In nominating Sonia Sotomayor, the president cited both her judicial experience and her compelling personal story.
But the court's balance of power may not change much, as Justice Souter, a conservative choice, consistently voted liberal.