GOP Objects To Sotomayor Hearing Date

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
The Senate Judiciary Committee confirmed Tuesday that Supreme Court Nominee Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation hearing will begin July 13, and Republicans are none too happy about it.

The top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, Alabama senator Jeff Sessions, said today that the date is too early and does not give Republicans enough time to examine Sotomayor's record.

"I'm really a bit surprised," Sessions said, according to Politico. "I don't think our side has the time to do this right. ... That's a rushed time frame, and I don't think that's necessary."

As the Associated Press reports, GOP Leader Mitch McConnell accused Democrats of threatening Senate cooperation over the nominee by setting an impractical timetable.

"An arbitrary date on this nomination, when we're not clear yet how long it's going to take to work our way through her extensive record ... strikes me as not a good way to proceed," said McConnell.

And MSNBC reports that Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley says that the GOP will not go along with Leahy's timetable because he believes it does not allow for enough time to go through Sotomayor's judicial record.

Democratic Committee Chairman Pat Leahy and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, meanwhile, expressed frustration that Senate Republicans expect more time to scrutinize Sotomayor. They noted that Chief Justice John Roberts was confirmed in a matter of 72 days.

"There's no reason this can't be done," Reid said, according to Politico. "If [Republicans] want to take more time than has ever been taken in the history of this country, then something is wrong."

But Grassley and other Republicans reject the comparison between Sotomayor and Roberts.

"She has 10 times as many decisions as Roberts did," Republican Sen. John Kyl said. "It takes a long time to go through that material. We'll simply have to wait and see how that review goes. I've checked and it's not going really fast. It's hard to do."

The Senate is expected to confirm Sotomayor by August 6, before Congress leaves for summer recess. It is anticipated that she will assume her responsibilities as Supreme Court Justice when Congress resumes in September, the Miami Herald reports.

Leahy suggested GOP complaints and stalling are reason enough to move as quickly as possible.

"There is no reason to unduly delay consideration of this well-qualified nominee," Leahy said. "Indeed, given the attacks on her character, there are compelling reasons to proceed even ahead of this schedule. It is not fair for her critics to be calling her racist without allowing her the opportunity to respond."

Additionally, Leahy said that with the resources available to senators, all of Sotomayor's writings could feasibly be read in time for the confirmation hearing, as the New York Times reports.

"We get paid a lot; we have huge staffs," he said. "If we can't do this work, if we can't get this done, then shame on us and shame on anyone who would delay it."

(Sotomayor is pictured above in a meeting with Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash. on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 9, 2009. )
  • Prerana Swami

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