31 mei 2009

Sotomayor to Begin Visits With Senators Tuesday

Source Legal Times

Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor will head to Capitol Hill on Tuesday to start meeting with senators, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said today.

Sotomayor is scheduled to meet with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), and Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Gibbs said. Staffers were also trying to schedule a meeting with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

"We are hopeful that other visits can be scheduled for that Tuesday and for the rest of the week," Gibbs said at his daily briefing.

The meetings are a chance for senators to ask Sotomayor questions behind closed doors, and for the nominee to sell herself to those who will vote on confirmation.

In addition, Sotomayor's Judiciary Committee questionnaire is likely to be finished some time next week, Gibbs said. The questionnaire asks for personal and financial information, as well as descriptions of what she considers her most important rulings.

The Judiciary Committee is preparing for the influx of information and work by requesting additional funding from the Senate. A spokeswoman said today that it was unclear whether the funding had been approved yet, but it could be used to hire temporary staff, buy equipment, and pay for other miscellaneous expenses.

Republicans on the committee have hired a former assistant attorney general to be chief counsel of their Supreme Court team. Elisebeth Cook, who had worked in the Justice Department's Office of Legal Policy since 2005, led the office for the last eight months of the Bush administration. She previously was an associate at the boutique litigation firm Cooper & Kirk.

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