[JURIST] Confirmation hearings for US Supreme Court [official website] nominee Sonia Sotomayor [WH profile] will begin on July 13, as announced [statement text] Tuesday by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy [official websites]. The committee released a schedule [fact sheet, PDF] for the process that attempts to follow a time line of Justice Roberts' confirmation. The schedule foresees Sotomayor being confirmed on August 6, before the Senate recesses on August 9. Leahy emphasized that Sotomayor's confirmation should be a smooth process since her record has already been subject to review since Justice David Souter's retirement [JURIST report] and because she has already been considered and confirmed twice before as a federal judge. Since Senate Republicans and Democrats agreed on a reasonable time frame for Justice John Roberts' hearing and confirmation, Leahy reasoned that delaying Sotomayor's hearing would be unequal treatment. Leahy addressed the confirmation schedule, saying:
In selecting this date I am trying to be fair to all concerned. I want to be fair to the nominee and allow her the earliest possible opportunity to respond to the attacks made about her character. It is not fair for her critics to be calling her racist without allowing her the opportunity to respond. I also want to conclude the process without unnecessary delay so that she might participate fully in the deliberations of the Supreme Court selecting cases and preparing for its new term. ...Leahy also addressed some of the negative reactions that Sotomayor's nomination has elicited. Classifying the recent attacks on her as unfair, Leahy defended the nominee and declared allegations of racism and bigotry to be untrue. Leahy finished his statement by commending President Barack Obama for consulting with "Senators from both sides of the aisle" in his selection of Sotomayor.
There is no reason to indulge in needless and unreasonable delay.This is an historic nomination. It should unite the American people and the Senate.
Sotomayor returned the Senate committee questionnaire [JURIST report] last week detailing her prior judgments, financial status, potential conflicts of interest and various other details of her past. Recently, President Barack Obama praised [JURIST report] Sotomayor's experience and wisdom, rebuking Republicans who would oppose her confirmation. Obama warned against partisanship in the confirmation process, saying that he hoped Congress would "avoid the political posturing and ideological brinksmanship" that marked past confirmation hearings. Following Obama's nomination, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee said that he did not anticipate a filibuster [JURIST reports] against Sotomayor.