Cites Sotomayor's Extensive Experience, Keen Intellect and Past Bipartisan Support as Reasons for His Support
Calls on Colleagues to Recognize Sotomayor's Credentials, Approve Nomination
Washington, DC - Michael Bennet, U.S. Senator for Colorado, reaffirmed his support for the nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor for the U.S. Supreme Court, citing her extensive academic and legal acumen, moderate judicial temperament, and compelling personal life story as reasons for the U.S. Senate to overwhelmingly approve her appointment.
In his remarks, Bennet, who met with Judge Sotomayor in June, called the nominee "an inspirational example to our children," "a judicial moderate," and "a distinguished lawyer" with a "dedication to public service."
The full text of Bennet's remarks as delivered are included below:
Mr. President, I too rise in strong support of the President's historic nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to be Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court.
The Senate has no more important responsibility than to advise and consent on nominations to our nation's highest court. It will be an honor, Mr. President, on behalf of the people of my State, to cast my vote to confirm Sonia Sotomayor.
Judge Sotomayor is a distinguished lawyer, with a lifetime of experience in and out of the courtroom, as a litigator, a prosecutor, a trial judge, and an appellate judge on one of the most prestigious courts in the nation.
At an early point in her career, she showed a dedication to public service, serving for 5 years as an Assistant District Attorney in New York City. As a prosecutor, she focused on murder and robbery cases at a time when violence was high in New York and law and order was essential. And she has chosen in recent years to share her knowledge and experience with young legal scholars, as an adjunct professor at local law schools.
Three Presidents from both parties also have agreed that she merits a prestigious lifetime judicial appointment - Mr. President, that is impressive bipartisan support at our nation's highest levels.
The question before the Senate is whether the nominee meets the high standards we rightfully expect of our Supreme Court Justices. It's our role to advise and consent on whether a President's nominee seeks to apply the law, and not to make or remake it. On both of these fronts, Judge Sotomayor meets and far exceeds the mark. She is clearly a judicial moderate, and has demonstrated this through a federal judicial record longer than any nominee in the last 100 years.
As Federal District Court judge in the Southern District of New York, Judge Sotomayor presided over roughly 450 cases. As a member of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Sotomayor has participated in over 3,000 panel decisions and authored over 400 published opinions. Seldom does the Senate have a record as long as Judge Sotomayor's. There is no mystery here in about what kind of judge or justice she will be.
Since joining the Second Circuit, she has participated in 434 published panel decisions where the panel included at least one judge appointed by a Republican President. In these cases, Judge Sotomayor agreed with the result favored by the Republican appointee 95 percent of the time. She has ruled for the government in 83 percent of immigration cases and 92 percent of criminal cases. She has hued closely to Second Circuit and Supreme Court precedent. On employment cases, she has split her decisions evenly. By all accounts, she is a mainstream, moderate nominee.
The American Bar Association unanimously found her well-qualified, and she is someone with a long record of moderation and humility toward the law. Her work is driven by a thorough application of the law to the facts of each case. Our focus and the basis for support or opposition should be on her qualifications and record. And on this point, she clearly should be confirmed. This week we have a historic opportunity to add a mainstream, moderate judge to our nation's highest court.
President George H.W. Bush saw this kind of potential in her when he nominated her to the federal district court. And she has fully realized his faith in her, so much so that she stands on the brink of history after being nominated by President Obama.
Judge Sotomayor has all the professional ingredients to make a great Supreme Court justice, as well as the temperament, and it is on that basis that she should be confirmed by this body by an overwhelming vote.
But there is more to Judge Somotayor than this impressive legal career. Judge Sotomayor has also lived a truly American story. The daughter of Puerto Rican parents, Judge Sotomayor lost her father at the age of 9 and was raised in a housing project in the Bronx. Through strong-willed and loving parenting by her mother, she rose from difficult circumstances to receive the very highest honor that Princeton awards to an undergraduate.
She also, Mr. President, went to Yale Law School, where she had a much more distinguished career than my own.
When she is confirmed as the 1st Hispanic and 3rd woman ever to be nominated to the Supreme Court, Judge Sotomayor will be an inspirational example to all our children all across the country, telling us that regardless of where you come from, regardless of your economic circumstances, nothing is beyond your reach in America. Judge Sotomayor will be a role model for young Coloradans in all of our schools, and with her on the High Court, I fully expect that school-aged girls like my three daughters will have an important model of success to follow in their own lives.
These intangible factors make her nomination an important statement for millions of young Americans setting out on their own paths.
Mr. President, I have the utmost faith in Sonia Sotomayor. The President made an excellent nomination. Through sheer persistence, hard work, intelligence, and integrity, she has become an inspiration to the American people. And she is a compelling reminder that, in this nation, everything is possible.
I am proud to commit my vote in favor of this nominee. Mr. President, I yield the Floor, and note the absence of a quorum.