Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) announced on the Senate floor today that the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor on July 13. In an effort to head off expected criticisms, Leahy noted that this proposed time line mirrors that of Chief Justice John Roberts, whose entire confirmation process took about two months. “This is a schedule that tracks the process the Senate followed by bipartisan agreement in considering President Bush’s nomination of John Roberts to the Supreme Court in 2005,” Leahy said.
That agreement was reached before the Committee received the answers to the bipartisan questionnaire, and before the Committee had received any of the 75,000 pages of documents from his years working in Republican administrations. If 48 days were sufficient to prepare for that hearing, in accordance with our agreement and the initial schedule, it is certainly adequate time to prepare for the confirmation hearing for Judge Sotomayor.
Sotomayor provided the committee with answers to its questionnaire last week. Now the question is how amenable Republicans will be to this announcement. I’m sure we’ll find out soon enough. “There is no reason to unduly delay consideration of this well-qualified nominee,” Leahy said. “Indeed, given the attacks on her character, there are compelling reasons to proceed even ahead of this schedule. She deserves the earliest opportunity to respond to those attacks.”