Sotomayor Aced 2 Previous Senate Hearings
Tough questioning from GOP didn't faze court nominee
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted May 28, 2009 8:08 AM CDT
Peter White helps newly inducted Judge Sonia Sotomayor put on her robe shortly after she took the oath of office as a judge on the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in New York, Nov. 6, 1998.   (AP Photo/Adam Nadel, file)
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(Newser) – Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee are still debating how tough they'll be at Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation hearing, but as the Washington Post reports, the Supreme Court nominee doesn't buckle under pressure. In the long-delayed 1997 hearing that elevated her to the Second Circuit, Sotomayor survived a GOP grilling on everything from gay rights to mandatory prison sentences, and even seemed to charm Strom Thurmond.

Sotomayor sailed through her 1992 hearing, when Democrats held the majority, but in 1997 she faced tough questioning from Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions—who is now the committee's ranking Republican. Sessions quizzed her on whether she had refused to applaud when Clarence Thomas visited the Second Circuit. Sotomayor refused to take the bait: "He was my Supreme Court justice of my circuit. I stood up."