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Female Senators Stand Up for Sotomayor; Witness List for Hearing Released

A trio of female Senators tried to rally support for Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor on Thursday, but they dismissed the need for outside women’s groups to get involved in the confirmation process, which kicks off next week.“Things are going well. There’s no need to get involved,— Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said during a press conference, also attended by Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.).Women’s groups have been largely absent from the public debate over Sotomayor, who is just the third woman appointed to serve on the nation’s highest court, and if confirmed, would be one of only two females on the bench. Sotomayor also is the first Latina nominated to the Supreme Court.Boxer said women’s groups who support abortion rights and advocate on behalf of other issues affecting women don’t need to publicly express their support of Sotomayor. Still, Boxer warned that “foul play— in the form of Republican-led delay tactics would prompt supportive women’s organizations to make a push for the nominee.Meanwhile, the conservative-minded Women’s Coalition for Justice released a statement Thursday strongly criticizing President Barack Obama’s first Supreme Court pick.“Sonia Sotomayor’s record of support for judicial activism and her work for the pro-abortion Puerto Rican Legal Defense Fund offer little comfort that she will be a friend to the unborn on the Supreme Court,— said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List. “Given what we know about Sonia Sotomayor’s own judicial philosophy, including her support of policymaking from the bench, senators have just cause to reject her appointment to the United States Supreme Court.—Charmaine Yoest, president of Americans United for Life and a panelist at next week’s confirmation hearing, stated that if confirmed, Sotomayor “will dramatically shift the dynamics of the Court.—Meanwhile, the Judiciary Committee on Thursday released a lengthy list of witnesses for the hearings, including New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, New York Reps. José Serrano (D) and Nydia Velázquez (D), former FBI Director Louis Freeh and Fraternal Order of Police President Chuck Canterbury, among others. Republican-invited witnesses include Yoest of Americans United for Life, former National Rifle Association President Sandy Froman and Lt. Ben Vargas of the New Haven (Conn.) Fire Department. The fire department was the subject of a recent Supreme Court ruling in which the court decided that city officials violated white firefighters’ rights when they threw out the results of a promotions test on which few minorities scored well. Sotomayor had been part of the lower court’s ruling that led to the Supreme Court appeal.

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