Sotomayor Testimony Completed, Firefighter Next Key Witness

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor has completed three days of answering questions before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The panel's top Republican, Jeff Sessions of Alabama, said he expects a Senate floor vote to come before the August recess. Approval would make Sotomayor the first Hispanic justice on the high court.

Sotomayor won praise from Democrats and Republicans. But some Republicans voiced concern about some of her speeches and writings on the role of a judge and the impact her own background might have on her rulings. Republican Tom Coburn of Oklahoma said he's "deeply troubled" by some of those words.

Chairman Patrick Leahy told Sotomayor she had answered questions with "intelligence, grace and patience." And Sotomayor told the committee she's received a "gracious and fair" hearing.

The panel now hears from a series of outside witnesses.

The man at the center of one of Sonia Sotomayor's most-disputed court rulings is the next high-profile witness as the New Yorker's Supreme Court confirmation hearings near an end.

New Haven, Conn., firefighter Frank Ricci is going to the Judiciary Committee, telling his story in the reverse discrimination case that has proved a leading cause for conservatives opposed to Sotomayor. The judge's critics have criticized her for dismissing the firefighters arguments without a hearing. They were trying to win promotions they said they earned on an examination that the city administered.

New Haven eventually ruled the test invalid, saying it looked stacked against minorities.

Other witnesses Thursday afternoon will include representatives of private organizations such as the American Bar Association.

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