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Sotomayor hearings: Judge is adamant, Sessions is unconvinced

If some of the exchanges at Sonia Sotomayor’s confirmation hearing are starting to sound familiar, well, they are.

And if it sounds like Sotomayor and some Judiciary Committee members are at an impasse, well, that seems to be the case too.

Alabama Republican Jeff Sessions revisited issues he raised Tuesday, saying he remains unconvinced by many of Sotomayor's answers. He once again alluded to the “wise Latina” speech and suggested that it showed Sotomayor believed that sympathies and prejudices should influence a judge’s work.

Sotomayor, once again, said that was not the case. She also said, once again, that the speech was poorly worded and left the left impression that “I believe something I don’t.” She also allowed that the speech left an impression that had offended people. The panel’s ranking Republican member and the judge differed on other issues, including use of foreign law in U.S. courts. Sessions said Sotomayor had argued that foreign law can be used by American judges to render decisions.

She replied, again, that foreign law can be useful for general knowledge — the “dialogue of ideas” — but should not serve as a precedent to guide a ruling in an American court.

Sessions, once more, sounded unconvinced.

-- Steve Padilla

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We need a national campaign to come up with different questions for Supreme Court nominees. The simple minded way most people think about issues like abortion, free speech and the so-called right to bear arms is absurd to a judge. The law is not the same as opinion and it is certainly not subject to personal whim. Just one single question that would identify whether a person has sufficient judgement and understanding of the law would be better than all these questions that are little more than "Coke or Pepsi'.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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