July 09, 2009

Women Senators Echo Support For Sotomayor's Record

In advance of the confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor, a coalition of women senators Thursday offered support for the long record of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals judge.  At a press conference on Capitol Hill Thursday, Senators Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) praised Sotomayor's 17-year record as a federal judge and public servant.

Senator Boxer said, "Judge Sonia Sotomayor's nomination to the Supreme Court is important because we want our institutions in this country - from the Congress to the President's Cabinet to the judicial branch - to reflect the diversity of our country.  This woman, this excellent judge, deserves to be treated fairly and equally with those who came before her.  I will work with my colleagues to ensure that Judge Sotomayor's confirmation process is fair and timely."

Senator Klobuchar said, "Judge Sotomayor understands that the law is not some dusty book in your basement, but that it has a real impact on people's lives.  She is someone who deeply appreciates the power and impact that laws and the criminal justice system have on real people's lives.  Judge Sotomayor has more experience as a trial court judge than anyone that has been nominated in the past 100 years.  Her record is one of looking at the facts and examining the details, and demonstrates her strong command of the law.  I look forward to the upcoming hearings."

Senator Gillibrand said, "Judge Sotomayor is widely admired. She understands that upholding the rule of law and upholding precedent is her primary duty, but she also understands how to apply it fairly, consistently and in a common-sense way. If confirmed for the Supreme Court, Judge Sotomayor would bring more federal judicial experience than any nominee at the time of their nomination.  Judge Sotomayor is well within the mainstream.  And because she brings with her such an extraordinary array of judicial and personal experiences, we can look forward to her being one of the greatest justices in our American history."

Earlier this week, the National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL) released an evaluation of Sotomayor's record, and announced that its "Committee for the Evaluation of Supreme Court Nominees has found Judge Sonia Sotomayor ‘highly qualified' for the position of Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court.  The conclusion, based upon Judge Sotomayor's intellectual capacity, her appropriate judicial temperament and her respect for established law and process."  The committee is comprised of law professors, appellate practitioners and lawyers.  The NAWL evaluation is one of the latest in a series of studies and evaluations that have found Sotomayor to be a mainstream, moderate federal judge.

Several Senators joined Boxer, Klobuchar and Gillibrand in praising Sotomayor's qualifications.

Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) said, "Judge Sonia Sotomayor has a compelling personal story and a distinguished judicial career.  Her intellectual capacity and respect for the law are unquestioned: she received the top-grade from the American Bar Association, as well as ringing endorsements from America's top law enforcement associations.  I have met her personally. She is whip-smart, gracious and well-liked by the American people. Simply put, she is an outstanding nominee for the Supreme Court. I look forward to a swift and respectful discussion of her qualifications, record and judicial expertise."

Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said, "Judge Sotomayor is an experienced jurist.  Her 17-year record as a federal judge indicates that she has a strong respect for the rights and liberties of all Americans.  That she was appointed to the federal courts twice - once by a Democratic president and once by a Republican - is a testament to her independence, temperament, and mainstream ideology."

Senator Mary Landrieu (D-La.) said, "In addition to having an impressive professional resume, Judge Sotomayor personal journey from the Bronx projects to the federal bench is truly extraordinary. Judge Sotomayor is a historic choice who will bring a wealth of experience and added diversity to the nation's highest court. I have confidence in her fair-mindedness, and I intend to support her Senate confirmation."

Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) said, "The person appointed to the Supreme Court will have an impact on our daily lives and on the lives of our children and grandchildren.  That is why we in the Senate must ensure that any nominee to the Court demonstrates that he or she is independent, fair-minded, and willing to reach impartial decisions based on the law. I am encouraged that in Judge Sotomayor, the President has selected an excellent nominee who demonstrates all of these qualities."

Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) said, "Over the course of her career, Judge Sotomayor has examined the law from every perspective, giving her a depth of knowledge that is rare and uniquely qualifying her to sit on our nation's highest court.  But she also has shown that she respects precedent. Over her career, she has affirmed the criminal convictions of lower courts 92 percent of the time.  I am confident she will make an extraordinary Supreme Court Justice."

Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) said, "Judge Sotomayor has had a distinguished career as a federal judge.  And, if confirmed, she will replace New Hampshire's David Souter as the only member of the Supreme Court with prior experience as a trial-court judge, experience I think is very important for at least one of our Supreme Court Justices to have.  I am confident Judge Sotomayor will be ever mindful of the need to provide clear and practical decisions, and I look forward to her swift confirmation."

The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a confirmation hearing on Sotomayor's nomination on July 13.