Sen. Sessions Still Troubled By Sotomayor

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Judge Sonia Sotomayor got her first pledges of support from GOP senators Friday, but the senior Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee says he is still troubled by her nomination to the Supreme Court.

"I have not announced what I will do and we're continuing to review the record in the matters that came up at the hearing, but I'm really troubled by some of her speeches that I think reflect a view of the law that is not the classical American legal view that I believe in so deeply," Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama tells Robert Siegel.

Sessions voted against Sotomayor in 1998 when she was up for a circuit judgeship. He has said, however, that does not mean he will oppose her this time.

Republican Sens. Richard Lugar of Indiana, Mel Martinez of Florida and Susan Collins of Maine said Friday they would support Sotomayor; Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said he would vote against her.

Sotomayor's nomination hearings, which ended Thursday, were dominated by questions about a speech she made in 2001. In those remarks, Sotomayor said her experiences growing up Puerto Rican greatly influenced her.

"I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life," she said at the time.

Sessions and other Republicans have criticized those remarks. Sessions tells Siegel the comments were inappropriate because a judge takes an oath to be impartial. He says it is a great cause for concern if a judge's philosophy is not in the American tradition of objectivity.

"She said her background could affect the facts she chose to see as a judge," he says. "And that, if believed, is a disqualifying thing, frankly."



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