Senator Shaheen Floor Statement on Judge Sotomayor's Supreme Court nomination, August 5th, 2009

August 05, 2009

Mr. President, I am delighted to be here to join the senior Senator from Minnesota, Ms. Klobuchar, and to speak also after the senior Senator from Vermont, my neighbor, Senator Leahy, in support of Sonia Sotomayor.

This week, we have the opportunity to make history by confirming the first Hispanic and only the third woman to the U.S. Supreme Court. Senator Klobuchar spoke eloquently about the challenges women have faced, and I am pleased to say I had the honor as Governor of appointing the first woman to the New Hampshire Supreme Court.

I come to the floor to speak in support of Sonia Sotomayor's nomination; however, not because of the historic nature of that nomination but because she is more than qualified to sit on the Supreme Court. I am somewhat perplexed by why the vote on her nomination will not be unanimous.

Judge Sotomayor is immensely qualified. The nonpartisan American Bar Association Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary, which has evaluated the professional qualifications of nominees to the Federal bench since 1948, unanimously--unanimously--rated Judge Sotomayor as ``well qualified'' to be a Supreme Court Justice after carefully considering her integrity, professional competence, and judicial temperament.

Her decisions as a member of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals are well within the judicial mainstream of our country. A Congressional Research Service analysis on her opinions concluded she eludes easy ideological categorization and demonstrates an adherence to judicial precedent, an emphasis on facts to a case, and an avoidance of overstepping the circuit court's judicial role. Described as a political centrist by the nonpartisan American Bar Association Journal, she has been nominated to the Federal courts by Presidents of both political parties.

When President George H.W. Bush, in 1992, nominated Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, this Senate approved her nomination by unanimous consent. When President Clinton, in 1998, nominated her to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, this Senate voted 67 to 29 to confirm her on an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote.

Her now-familiar personal story is no less impressive. The confirmation of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the highest

Court of our country will inspire girls and young women everywhere to work hard and to set their dreams high.

Americans look to lawmakers to work together to make the country stronger. They expect us to put partisanship aside to advance the interests of the American people. If there is one issue we should be able to come together on, to put aside our differences on, it is the confirmation of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court.

I look forward to having the opportunity to vote in support of her confirmation with the majority of my colleagues.

I thank Senator Klobuchar. I yield the floor.

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