GOP Senators to Kick Off Campaign Against Sotomayor

Posted June 22, 2009 at 5:28pm

Senate Republicans are expected to begin formally making their case against the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court on Tuesday with a series of speeches questioning her involvement in a Puerto Rican civil rights group and her positions on a number of legal issues, Republican aides said Monday.

Judiciary Committee ranking member Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) and other Republicans on the panel will begin delivering a series of floor speeches starting Tuesday outlining concerns they have with the nomination.

In the speeches, Republicans will outline “areas of concern about Judge Sotomayor’s record and about whether she’s allowed empathy rather than the law guide her decisions,— a GOP aide said.

Specifically, Sessions and other Judiciary Republicans will take aim at her position on gun rights, the role of “empathy— in her rulings as a federal judge, and whether she has allowed foreign laws to inform her decisions in the past.

Republicans will also focus their critiques of Sotomayor on her involvement in the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, the nation’s oldest Puerto Rican civil rights group.

According to the GOP aide, in addition to the fact that the PRLDEF has not yet turned over a number of documents relating to her decade-long association with the group, Republicans reviewing her background have found a number of positions the organization took during that time that they see as “concerning.—

At the same time, Sessions will continue this week to lay out the GOP’s broader philosophical beliefs of what a Supreme Court judge should be like. According to another aide, Sessions this week will deliver a floor speech on why the Constitution should be strictly interpreted, rather than being viewed as a “living, breathing— document.

With confirmation hearings fast approaching — they are set to begin July 13 — and the topic of Sotomayor’s nomination not yet resonating with the public, Republicans are hoping to make the case over the coming weeks against President Barack Obama’s first Supreme Court nominee. Additionally, the GOP Senators are hoping to lay out their broader view of the judiciary and its role.