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FACTBOX: Sotomayor's Senate hearing for top court
July 13, 2009 / 6:52 AM / 8 years ago

FACTBOX: Sotomayor's Senate hearing for top court

(Reuters) - The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday will begin a public confirmation hearing for Sonia Sotomayor to take a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court, which would make her the court’s first Hispanic justice.

Sotomayor was nominated by President Barack Obama to replace David Souter, who recently retired. He was among four liberals on the ideologically divided, nine-member court.

Here are some details of plans for the hearing:

MONDAY, JULY 12

* The 19-member Senate Judiciary Committee will begin its hearing at 10 a.m EDT. Each of the 12 Democrats and seven Republicans on the committee will be allowed opening statements up to 10 minutes. Sotomayor will be formally introduced by Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, the senators from her home state of New York.

* Sotomayor will be given the oath by Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy and then make her opening statement. Afterward, the hearing will recess for the day.

TUESDAY, JULY 14

* The hearing resumes about 9 EDT/1300 GMT with questioning of the nominee. Each senator will be allotted 30 minutes for this first round of examination.

* The committee is not expected to complete the first-round of questions before it again recesses, likely late in the day.

WEDNESDAY, JULY 15

* The hearing resumes about 9 EDT/1300 GMT. The first round of questions is expected to be completed by mid-day, at which time the committee will move into closed-door session with Sotomayor to discuss her FBI background review.

* After a lunch break, the committee will resume open session and will begin the second round of questions. This time, each senator will be allotted 20 minutes.

THURSDAY, JULY 16

* The hearing will resume about 9 EST/1300 GMT. If the committee has not completed its second round of questioning it likely will do so on Thursday. Some senators may request additional time. Then they will hear from outside witnesses.

* Democrats have put New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former Major League Baseball pitcher David Cone and former FBI Director Louis Freeh along with legal scholars and experts on their witness list.

* The Republican witness list includes conservative author and commentator Linda Chavez, a former president of the National Rifle Association and Frank Ricci, who was a plaintiff in a landmark race bias case in which Sotomayor was overruled by the U.S. Supreme Court.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT

* After the hearing concludes, committee members are typically given a week to submit written questions. After Sotomayor answers them, the committee will vote whether to recommend her for confirmation by the full Senate.

* Regardless of the recommendation, a Supreme Court nomination traditionally goes to the full Senate for consideration. After at least a few days of debate, the Democratic-led Senate will vote on Sotomayor.

* If confirmed by a majority of the Senate, Sotomayor will likely go straight to the White House to be sworn in, probably by Chief Justice John Roberts. If he is unavailable, another justice will do the honors.

* The court officially starts its new term in October but has scheduled a special session in September to hear a challenge to the federal campaign finance law.

Reporting by Andrew Quinn; editing by Bill Trott

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