Senate Republicans Say They’ll Treat Sotomayor ‘Fairly’

By Susan Jones | May 26, 2009 | 10:53 AM EDT

President Barack Obama announces federal appeals court judge Sonia Sotomayor as his nominee for the Supreme Court on Tuesday, May 26, 2009, at the White House. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

( - As President Barack Obama named federal appeals court Judge Sonia Sotomayor to serve on the highest court in the land on Tuesday morning, Senate Republicans withheld judgment and said they’ll look closely at her record.
“Senate Republicans will treat Judge Sotomayor fairly,” said Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in a statement. “But we will thoroughly examine her record to ensure she understands that the role of a jurist in our democracy is to apply the law even-handedly, despite their own feelings or personal or political preferences.”
McConnell noted that Democrats have often said that the Senate is not a rubber stamp.  “Accordingly, we trust they will ensure there is adequate time to prepare for this nomination, and a full and fair opportunity to question the nominee and debate her qualifications.”
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), a member of the Judiciary Committee, urged his colleagues and reporters not to “pre-judge or pre-confirm” Sotomayor.
“It is my hope that the process will allow her to prove herself to possess the impartiality, integrity, legal expertise and judicial temperament that we have come to expect from those that sit on our highest court.  She must prove her commitment to impartially deciding cases based on the law, rather than based on her own personal politics, feelings, and preferences,” Cornyn said.
Cornyn said President Obama has assured him that senators will have “ample time to give Ms. Sotomayor’s record a full and fair review.”
For her part, Sotomayor told a news conference that her personal and professional experiences “have helped me appreciate the variety of perspectives that present themselves in every case that I hear. It has helped me to understand, respect, and respond to the concerns and arguments of all litigants who appear before me, as well as to the views of my colleagues on the bench.”
She said she strives “never to forget the real-world consequences” of her decisions on individuals, businesses, and government.
Sotomayor described herself as “an ordinary person who has been blessed with extraordinary opportunities and experiences.”
She said she looks forward to working with the Senate during the confirmation process.

The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), a conservative constitutional law group, said Sotomayor’s nomination is sure to generate debate about judicial activism:
“This nomination raises serious questions about the issue of legislating from the bench,” said Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the ACLJ. 
“How will this nominee view the Constitution and the rule of law? Will she embrace past comments when she stated that the ‘court of appeals is where policy is made?’”
Sekulow said he’s hopeful that senators will ask tough questions about her judicial philosophy and temperament when the confirmation hearings get underway this summer. “The American people deserve to fully understand what kind of Justice is being nominated to serve on the nation’s highest court for decades to come,” he said.