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Senate to grill Sotomayor again over Supreme Court bid

Judge Sonia Sotomayor Sonia Sotomayor (born in 1954 in The Bronx, New York) is a judge on the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. After graduating with a B.A. from Princeton University in 1976, Sotomayor obtained her J.D. from Yale Law School in 1979. , whose confirmation as the first Hispanic on the US Supreme Court is virtually assured, returns to Capitol Hill Wednesday for a third day of Senate grilling.

Sotomayor was due back before the Senate Judiciary Committee The U.S. Senate established the Committee on the Judiciary on December 10, 1816, as one of the original 11 standing committees. It is also one of the most powerful committees in Congress; among its wide range of jurisdictions is investigation of federal judicial nominees and oversight of  at 9:30 am (1330 GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) See UTC.

GMT - Universal Time 1
), a day after she fought back against charges of racial bias and distanced herself from her past remark that a "wise Latina" woman's heritage might help make better rulings than a white judge.

"It's a refrain I keep repeating because that is my philosophy of judging: applying the law to the facts at hand," she said, stressing throughout the hours-long confirmation hearing that she would not allow personal bias to determine her rulings on the bench.

She even went so far as to differ with President Barack Obama -- who nominated Sotomayor to the high court in late May -- when he said as a senator in 2005 that in some rulings, "the critical ingredient is supplied by what is in the judge's heart."

"I wouldn't approach the issue of judging in the way the president does," Sotomayor said. "It's not the heart that compels conclusions in cases, it's the law... We apply law to facts. We don't apply feelings to facts."

The nominee declined to explicitly criticize former president George W. Bush's actions after the September 11, 2001 attacks, but said the strikes did not dent her belief in the need to protect individual rights.

Democratic Senator Russell Feingold, who has fiercely criticized what he terms "war on terror This article is about U.S. actions, and those of other states, after September 11, 2001. For other conflicts, see Terrorism.

The War on Terror (also known as the War on Terrorism
" abuses, also drew a cautious response when he asked whether Supreme Court rulings undermining Bush-era anti-terror practices showed that "mistakes were made" after 9/11.

"That's not the way that judges look at that issue. We don't decide whether mistakes were made," said Sotomayor, who allowed that the decisions had found evidence of conflict between the policy and the US Constitution or US law.

Sotomayor, 55, repudiated her controversial 2001 comment that a "wise Latina" usually reaches a better conclusion than a white man as "a rhetorical flourish that fell flat."

"I want to state up front, unequivocally and without doubt, I do not believe that any ethnic, racial or gender group has an advantage in sound judging," the appeals court judge told lawmakers in response to questions by the panel's top Republican, Senator Jeff Sessions Jefferson Beauregard "Jeff" Sessions III (born December 24, 1946) is the junior United States Senator from Alabama. He is a member of the Republican Party. Early life
Sessions was born in Selma, Alabama to Abbie Powe and Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, Jr.
 of Alabama.

"It was bad, because it left an impression that I believed that life experiences commanded a result in a case, but that's clearly not what I do as a judge."

Republican officials and conservative commentators have seized on the remark to accuse Sotomayor, whose family hails from the US Caribbean territory of Puerto Rico Puerto Rico (pwār`tō rē`kō), island (2005 est. pop. 3,917,000), 3,508 sq mi (9,086 sq km), West Indies, c.1,000 mi (1,610 km) SE of Miami, Fla. , of saying that racial background shapes judicial rulings.

Sessions said he remained "very troubled" and that he worried any such bias would "reach full flower" if Sotomayor wins confirmation to the lifetime appointment.

"The questions being asked of you from the other side primarily are along the lines of, will you go too far in siding with minorities?" explained Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, the number two Senate Democrat.

During the hearing, Sotomayor denounced the World War II-era jailing of Japanese Americans The following is a list of famous Japanese Americans who have made significant contributions to the United States, or have appeared in the news numerous times:

Arts and Entertainment

  • Keiko Agena, actress (Gilmore Girls TV series)
, saying it was "inconceivable to me today that a decision permitting the detention and arrest of an individual solely on the basis of their race would be considered appropriate by our government."

A judge, she said, "should never rule from fear. A judge should rule from law and the Constitution."

Sotomayor's rise from a poor childhood in New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of
 City's Bronx to the pinnacle of US judicial life mirrors Obama's remarkable ascent.

Observers say there are little obstacles to her confirmation: Democrats dominate the committee and have, at least on paper, the 60 votes needed to overrun any Republican effort in the Senate to stymie sty·mie also sty·my  
tr.v. sty·mied , sty·mie·ing also sty·my·ing , sty·mies
To thwart; stump: a problem in thermodynamics that stymied half the class.

 the nomination.

The Princeton-educated jurist A judge or legal scholar; an individual who is versed or skilled in law.

The term jurist is ordinarily applied to individuals who have gained respect and recognition by their writings on legal topics.

jurist n.
 would replace retired Justice David Souter and be the second woman currently on the nine-member court, alongside Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Ruth Joan Bader Ginsburg (born March 15 1933, Brooklyn, New York) is an Associate Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. Having spent 13 years as a federal judge, but not being a career jurist, she is unique as a Supreme Court justice, having spent the majority of her career as an , and the third after retired justice Sandra Day O'Connor Sandra Day O'Connor (born March 26 1930) is an American jurist who served as the first female Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1981 to 2006. She was considered a strict constructionist. .

The court, which is the final arbiter of the US Constitution, is often called upon to decide bitter political disputes on volatile issues like abortion and gun rights.
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Publication:AFP Global Edition
Date:Jul 15, 2009
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