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Sen. Specter Questions Judge Sotomayor at Supreme Court Nomination Hearings

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009; 2:05 PM

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LEAHY: I just discussed this again with Senator Sessions. We will go first to Senator Specter then to Senator Franken. And then we will recess and go into the other -- other room for the closed session.

Senator Specter, of course, is former chairman of this committee, one of the most senior members of the Senate and one of the most experienced.

Senator -- Senator Specter?

SPECTER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Welcome back, Judge Sotomayor.

SPECTER: You have held up very well. Of all of the proceedings in the Senate, this is the most exacting on the -- on the witness. Years ago, as you know, in case of Ashcroft v. Tennessee, they said it was unconstitutional to subject a suspect to relay grilling, but that doesn't apply to nominees.

And your family has been here. My wife, Joan Specter, who's been an officeholder in her own right, says it's a lot harder to listen to me than it is to make a speech herself. And you are engaged.

I think, beyond doing very well on stamina, you have shown intellect, and humor, and charm, and pride, and also modesty, so it's been a very -- a good hearing. Notwithstanding all of those qualities, the Constitution says we have to decide whether to consent, and that requires the hearing process and -- and the questions.


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