Jess Bravin at the Washington Wire (WSJ) reports how Sonia Sotomayor catches Sen. Jeff Sessions off guard in today’s confirmation hearings:
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.), seeking to discredit Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s judicial philosophy, cited her 2001 “wise Latina” speech, and contrasted the view that ethnicity and sex influence judging with that of Judge Miriam Cedarbaum, who “believes that judges must transcend their personal sympathies and prejudices.”
“So I would just say to you, I believe in Judge Cedarbaum’s formulation,” Sessions told Sotomayor.
“My friend Judge Cedarbaum is here,” Sotomayor riposted, to Sessions’ apparent surprise. “We are good friends, and I believe that we both approach judging in the same way, which is looking at the facts of each individual case and applying the law to those facts.”
“I don’t believe for a minute that there are any differences in our approach to judging, and her personal predilections have no effect on her approach to judging,” she told Washington Wire. “We’d both like to see more women on the courts,” she added.
Cedarbaum, a pioneering woman lawyer who graduated from Columbia Law School in 1953, goes way back with both participants in the colloquy. Cedarbaum mentored Sotomayor after she joined the federal district court in Manhattan in 1992, and they have been close friends ever since.