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Sotomayor hearings: Fellow New Yorker Schumer lauds nominee

July 13, 2009 |  8:41 am

SchumerDemocratic Sen. Charles Schumer, who, as a fellow New Yorker, could be expected to be Sonia Sotomayor’s biggest supporter, was indeed passionate as he gave a shortened statement about her suitability for the high court. (Schumer is reserving the rest of his time for later.)

The judge, he said, is “supremely well qualified … smart, thoughtful and judicially modest.”

“But most important,” said Schumer, “Judge Sotomayor bespeaks judicial modestly, something our friends on the right have been clamoring for.”

He suggested that his Republican colleagues should disregard her speeches and statements off the bench (yes, the "wise Latina" raised her head again) and focus on her judicial record.

If they do, said Schumer, they will find that she “puts the rule of law above everything else…. Her record shows she is in the mainstream."

He said, as a judge, Sotomayor ruled for the government in 83% of immigration cases, in 92% of criminal cases. In employment cases, he said, her decisions were split evenly between employers and employees.

“Judge Sotomayor delves thoroughly into the facts of each case …. She rolls up her sleeves, applies the laws to the fact and come to a conclusion.”

In one case, Schumer said, Sotomayor upheld the right of a white police officer to make racist remarks. She upheld the 1st Amendment right of a prisoner to wear religious beads under his uniform.

“She adheres to the text of statutes,” he said, and she has ruled against “so-called sympathetic defendants.”

Added Schumer, “If the No. 1 standard that conservatives apply is modesty and humility, not activism on the Supreme Court, they should vote unanimously for Judge Sotomayor.”

-- Robin Abcarian

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Photo: Senate Judiciary Committee member Sen. Charles Schumer. Credit: Ron Edmonds / Associated Press