[JURIST] US Supreme Court [official website] nominee Sonia Sotomayor [WH profile; LOC materials] on Thursday returned a Senate Judiciary Committee [official website] questionnaire [text, PDF; materials] regarding her prior judgments, financial status, potential conflicts of interest, and various other details of her past. The documents, which contain transcripts of past speeches, hearings, and writings, shed light on comments and rulings that have recently been highlighted in the media. Particularly, the transcripts show multiple instances of her controversial comment during a 2001 speech at the UC Berkeley School of Law saying 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." While on the Second Circuit, Sotomayor wrote more than 230 majority opinions and participated in more than 3,000 panel decisions. The questionnaire provides a brief summary of all her Second Circuit and district court opinions that were reversed, vacated, or affirmed with significant criticism of her substantive or procedural rulings. Listed are four reversals and seven vacated judgments at the Supreme Court level. The questionnaire contains a detailed resume that includes more federal judicial experience [WH blog] than anyone confirmed for the Court in the past 100 years. Sotomayor discussed the confirmation process in a recent Federalist Society Panel:
Few political events bring to the general publics attention and fascination the dynamic dichotomy and interplay of our system of separation of powers than does the confirmation process. A supreme court confirmation is a historical snapshot moment that exposes to the public the delicate balance and checks that our constitution creates in the relationship among the branches of government.
Also released by the Senate Judiciary Committee are Sotomayor's confirmation hearing transcripts and questionnaires for her Second Circuit and district court [text, PDF] positions.
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 that 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 report] against Sotomayor.