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Sotomayor hearings: Judge finishes testimony with gracious exchange with Jeff Sessions

July 16, 2009 | 11:31 am

After sitting for nearly 24 hours before the Senate Judiciary Committee over four long days, Sonia Sotomayor’s testimony is over.

Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) has called for a recess, and when the hearings resume this afternoon, the committee will hear panels of witnesses who are in favor and against Sotomayor’s confirmation as a Supreme Court justice. Before the judge left the witness table, she offered an amiable sendoff to one of her toughest critics, Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions.

When the Alabama senator told her, “I hope you have felt that it’s been a fairly conducted hearing. That’s been my goal,” Sotomayor responded with a smile.

“Thank you,” she said. “I have received all of the graciousness and fair hearing that I could have asked for. And I thank you, senator, for your participation in that process.”

Sessions nodded.

“Thank you,” he said, exhibiting fine Southern manners. “Very courteous.”

-- Kate Linthicum