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The White House on Tuesday pulled out all the stops to portray Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor as a “tough— proponent of law and order, producing legendary New York prosecutor Robert Morgenthau to tout her commitment to locking up criminals.

“Nobody intimidated Sonia Sotomayor,— said Morgenthau, in whose office she worked as a junior prosecutor. “She couldn’t be pushed around by anybody — by a judge or a defense counsel,— he said. “She took on every type of criminal case, from turnstile jumping to murder.—

The White House event, hosted by Vice President Joseph Biden, appeared designed to appeal to the center and right as Republicans seize on a statement she made about a “wise Latina judge,— which they suggest indicates her rulings would be biased.

The event included endorsements by officials from the Police Executive Research Forum and the National District Attorneys Association.

The Judicial Confirmation Network, a conservative group that opposes Sotomayor, issued a statement questioning her law and order credentials.

“The purpose of this sideshow is to avoid facts in Sotomayor’s actual record that indicate a soft-on-crime judge who twists the law, particularly law at the intersection of race and crime issues, and who avoids binding precedent as a lower court judge in ways that unnecessarily favor criminals and hinder law enforcement,— JCN spokeswoman Wendy Long said.

Biden and the officials who spoke leavened their comments with ample references to her toughness and empathy for victims. “A part of her record flying under the radar is her tough stance on criminals and her unyielding commitment— to justice for victims, Biden said.

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