The Senate Judiciary Committee begins confirmation hearings on Sonia Sotomayor on Monday, July 13th.  Since her nomination, there has been a lot written and said about her.   The fact that she would be the first Hispanic on the Supreme Court, or her compelling personal story should not be the primary media sound bites, nor enter into the decision on her confirmation.   The facts of her record, her statements and writings are what need to be studied and questioned.  It should be determined whether she will strictly interpret and uphold the Constitution, and not attempt to make or change law from the bench.

Some things we do know:

The majority of her rulings that went to the Supreme Court for review were overturned.  The most recent being her ruling in the New Haven, CT firefighters discrimination suit just last month.

She has stated on more than one occasion that  she would hope a wise Latina woman, with the richness of her experiene, would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male.  She has stated that gender and national origin may and will make a difference in her judging, that personal experiences affect the facts that judges choose to see.  She has said that the appellate courts are where policy is made. 

While none of her past rulings addressed abortion rights, she was a board member of the Puerto Rican Legal Defense Fund which pushed to expand abortion rights under her leadership.  Pro-abortion groups are in support of her confirmation.

It doesn’t sound like she’ll be a strict interpreter of the Constitution to me.  She should be asked some very hard questions, and not confirmed if the committee doesn’t get the right answers and confidence in her ability and motivations.

For more information on the issues, questions she should be asked, or to ask your own questions, click here and here .  Or check out this video clip.

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