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Sotomayor hearings: Thumbs up for the American jury system

July 15, 2009 |  8:38 am


The hearing turned into a bit of a civics lesson when Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Maryland, who, like his Democratic colleagues, is very friendly to the nominee, wanted to know what Judge Sonia Sotomayor thought about the role of the jury “in the American system of government.”

“I would love to hear your thoughts,” he said.

As it turns out (no surprise here), Sotomayor, who has years of experience with juries, having been a state prosecutor and a trial court judge, is a big fan of the American jury system.

“I have found in my experience with juries that virtually every juror I have ever dealt with came away heartened and more deeply committed to the fundamental importance of their role as citizens in that process,” said Sotomayor.

She recalled one particular juror who broke her leg on her way home from court. The woman, said Sotomayor, “was in the hospital the entire night, came back the next morning on time, in a wheelchair, with a cast that went up to her hip. What a testament, both to that woman and to the importance of jury service to our citizens.” (Did we mention that Sotomayor has a cast up to her knee on her right leg and has shown up on time every day to her hearing?)

— Robin Abcarian

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Photo: Sonia Sotomayor testifies on the third day of confirmation hearings. Credit: Mark Wilson / Getty Images