"Wise Latina" Sotomayor Enters the Lion's Den - NBC 6 South Florida

"Wise Latina" Sotomayor Enters the Lion's Den

Judge Sotomayor faces Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday



    "Wise Latina" Sotomayor Enters the Lion's Den
    Sonia Sotomayor's will finally get to publicly address the "wise Latina" comment she made in a 2001 speech.

    Judge Sonia Sotomayor will come face to face with the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday for what stands to be a very public grilling on her record.

    Taking center stage, no doubt, will be the 2001 speech before a California law school when Sotomayor said a "wise Latina," could make better decisions than a white man because of her experience, reports the Wall Street Journal.

    It will be Sotomayor's first opportunity to publicly explain the controversial remarks. Most likely her strategy will be to defend her judicial record as free of any biases and activism that her critics have cited from her speech. Sotomayor will also make a case for diversity on the bench, while bending slightly and apologizing for her imperfect choice of words, according to the report.

    Typically, nominees don't speak out before their hearings, so she hasn't publicly defended herself yet. She did, however, make the rounds to privately explained to senators, like Sen. Kristin Gillibrand (D., N.Y.) what she meant.

    "I asked her that question...and she was very direct," Gillibrand told the Journal. "She just said,'(Latina identity) is something that informs my experience, but I'm always going to look to judicial precedent, I'm always going to follow the rule of law. '"

    In 2001, Sotomayor referenced Judge Oliver Wendell Holmes as a great Judge who voted to uphold racial and sexual discrimination in the now-famous speech at the University of Berkeley.

    "I would hope that a wise Latina woman, with the richness of her experiences, would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white man who hasn't lived that life," she said.

    Republicans are expected to put pressure on Sotomayor to forsake her choice of words.

    "I do think that based on her speeches and writings, that it will be essential that she convincingly assert that she will be impartial," says Sen.Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.).

    Sotomayor will be scrutinized by the Senate Judiciary Committee Monday morning at 10:00 AM.

    On Sunday, the International Association of Police Chiefs became the latest of several law-enforcement organizations to show support for the judge.

    Police Chiefs President Russell B. Laine said in a letter to Vermont Democrat Patrick Leahy, the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, that Sotomayor has outstanding qualifications for the job.