In the jargon of lawyers, Sonia Sotomayor runs a "hot bench." Meaning she is assertive, thorough, and unafraid to grill attorneys. Her supporters see it as a valuable quality, one that shows off her meticulous preparation and ensures she's got a handle on the case at hand, reports the New York Times. Detractors say she goes too far, even cutting off lawyers in midsentence when she doesn't like an argument. "Nasty," "difficult," "judgmental" are some of the adjectives that show up on lawyer assessments.
The Obama administration is well of the "temperament" issue and dismissed it as a concern in Sotomayor's vetting. One male colleague on the Second Circuit chalks up the complaints to "sexist" lawyers who don't like being questioned by a woman. A Pepperdine law professor, meanwhile, thinks Sotomayor would make an interesting benchmate of another judge noted for his aggressive questioning: Antonin Scalia.