SHAHEEN STATEMENT IN SUPPORT OF JUDGE SONIA SOTOMAYOR

August 05, 2009

(Washington, D.C.) - U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen today delivered the following remarks on the Senate floor in support of Judge Sonia Sotomayor as the Senate debates her confirmation to the United States Supreme Court.  A vote on the confirmation of Judge Sotomayor is expected later this week.

"This week we have the opportunity to make history by confirming the first Hispanic and only the third woman to the United States Supreme Court.  I come to the floor today 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 and I am perplexed by why the vote on her nomination will not be unanimous.

"Judge Sotomayor is immensely qualified.  The non-partisan American Bar Association Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary, which has evaluated the professional qualifications of nominees to the federal bench since 1948, unanimously rated 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 that she eludes easy ideological categorization, and demonstrates an adherence to judicial precedent, an emphasis on facts of a case, and an avoidance of overstepping the circuit court's judicial role. Described as a ‘political centrist' by the non-partisan 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, an overwhelming bipartisan majority.

"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's the confirmation of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the United States Supreme Court."

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