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Sotomayor Watchers Handicap the Hearings: Judge Winning

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July 16, 2009

New York, NY - Thursday is day four of Senate confirmation hearings on New York federal judge Sonia Sotomayor's nomination to the Supreme Court. How's she doing? "Outstanding," says Emma Coleman Jordan, a Georgetown University law professor who's watching the hearings

"I think that something catastrophic would have to happen before she would be rejected. She is well on her way to confirmation as we speak."

Professor Jordan worked on Sandra Day O'Conner's nomination as a Justice Department lawyer and represented a witness, Anita Hill, in Clarence Thomas' hearings. She thinks Sotomayor has improved her chances over the last three days.

"I'm not ambivalent about what I'm seeing in the hearings. Her performance is the performance of someone who is well on their way to becoming the next justice."

Christina Iturralde, an associate counsel with LatinoJustice PRLDF (formerly Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund), thinks that so far, Judge Sotomayor, a former board member of that group, has successfully answered questions about the group's legal positions.

"It doesn't sound, to us at least, that anything that's been said or any attacks that senators have tried to make on our organization has had any merit up 'til now."

This month, LatinoJustice PRLDF objected to being labeled an "extremist" group by the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Some observers have said Judge Sotomayor has been determinedly un-revealing in her answers to opponents' questions.

Mark Scheerer, Public News Service - NY