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Sotomayor nomination met with mixed reactions

[JURIST] Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions [official website], the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee [official website], said Wednesday that he does not anticipate a filibuster [AP report] against US Supreme Court [official website] nominee Sonia Sotomayor [official profile]. Sessions addressed [press release] the Judiciary Committee's process, stressing the importance of Sotomayor understanding that "the proper role of a judge is to act as a neutral umpire of the law, calling balls and strikes fairly without regard to one's own personal preferences or political views." The president of the American Tort Reform Association (ATRA) [advocacy website] expressed some concerns [press release] over Sotomayor's nomination and her "apparent embrace" of regulation through litigation. The ATRA pointed to remarks made by Sotomayor several years ago in which she said [Huffington Post report] that "it is the court of appeals where policy is made," and called for a thorough discussion of the judiciary's role in formulating policy. The National Senior Citizens Law Center [advocacy website] applauded the nomination [text], stating that Sotomayor's record shows that she will be a strong voice for enforcing safeguards for older Americans. American United [advocacy website], proponents of separation of church and state, stated [press release] that the Senate Judiciary Committee has an obligation to question Sotomayor thoroughly on her views of church and state separation because she has not written extensively on the issues.

US President Barack Obama [WH profile] announced [press release; JURIST report] Sotomayor as his nomination for the Court on Tuesday. If she receives Senate majority approval, Sotomayor, currently a judge on the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit [official website], would replace Justice David Souter [official profile, PDF; JURIST news archive] when he retires [JURIST report] at the end of the current term. She would be the first Latino and the third woman to serve on the Court. Earlier this month, Senate Republicans expressed their interests [JURIST report] in having a Supreme Court nominee who would impartially apply the law.

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