Senate Will Begin Hearings on Supreme Court Nominee Sonia Sotomayor Mid-July

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 9, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Senate Will Begin Hearings on Supreme Court Nominee Sonia Sotomayor Mid-July

by Steven Ertelt Editor
June 9
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — The Senate Judiciary Committee will begin hearings on Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor the middle of July, according to pro-abortion committee chairman Sen. Pat Leahy. Sotomayor is President Barack Obama’s nominee for the high court who some say will uphold abortion.

Leahy said the panel would begin hearings on July 13 and that the timeframe presents a "reasonable schedule" that gives committee members several weeks to prepare their questions and research her background and rulings as a lower and appeals court judge.

The timeline also allows a potential Senate confirmation vote before its August recess and in time for Sotomayor to serve on the Supreme Court when it begins its new term in October, as Obama has requested.

Two senators who have met with Sotomayor have confirmed that they believe she backs legal abortions and will uphold the Roe v. Wade decision that allowed virtually unlimited abortions throughout pregnancy for any reason.

Sotomayor met with pro-abortion Sen. Diane Feinstein last Tuesday and the lawmaker said she felt comfortable that the appeals court judge supports Roe as precedent.

That’s code for saying Sotomayor will affirm the Roe v. Wade decision the Supreme Court handed down in 1973 that allowed virtually unlimited abortions.

"I think she is a woman who is well-steeped in the law and well-steeped in precedent," Feinstein explained. "And I believe that she has a real respect for precedent, and that she was not just saying that. And if that is really true, then I would agree with her. And I believe it is."

Feinstein told reporters that she asked Sotomayor about abortion in general terms and that she planned to ask follow-up questions about abortion during the confirmation hearings expected to take place in July.

“We had a conversation in general about that,” Feinstein said.

Also last week, Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, said the same thing.

"I was very pleased that the judge indicated that in the past that she has had a great respect for precedent and that Roe v. Wade is established law," Wyden told reporters.

Wyden says he asked specifically about the issue of abortion and the controversial Supreme Court case and "she acknowledged the importance of precedent."

"She made that very clear," Wyden said.

If confirmed, Sotomayor would replace retiring Justice David Souter, who had comprised the 5-4 pro-abortion majority on the high court.

Wendy Long of the Judicial Confirmation Network, has been one of her leading opponents and said Sotomayor is an activist judge, who likely agrees with Roe v. Wade and would prefer that the courts make abortion law.

Sotomayor remarked in 2005 that the courts are the place "where policy is made."

In a videotaped statement, she goes on to say, “And I know — I know this is on tape, and I should never say that because we don’t make law. I know. O.K. I know. I’m not promoting it. I’m not advocating it. I’m — you know."

"What she said is exactly the way she judges," Long said in response. "It’s exactly what the president has talked about. He likes that. He thinks that liberal judges are so smart and so enlightened and have such great instincts about what policy should be that they should be making the decisions about policy for the rest of us."

Sotomayor, a member of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, has not directly issued any rulings on abortion but she has been involved in abortion cases.

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