11:23am – After the mid-morning break, the liveblog will continue below. Click ‘refresh’ for the latest.
11:38am – Sen. Tom Coburn is up. Sotomayor is again saying that she will not use foreign law as precedent.
11:39am – Coburn asks if she would ask senators to do a better job in expressing congressional intent. “Feel free to offend us.” She said that where congressional intent is more clearly stated, judges benefit.
11:44am – Coburn is pushing Sotomayor to discuss what criteria the Court would use to determine whether something – like gun ownership – is a fundamental right. She said she can’t. “If I can’t get you to go there, I’m gonna quit,” Coburn said. But he doesn’t. He says the issue is crucial to “my Oklahoma constituents.”
11:47am – Sotomayor: “I can assure your constituents that I have a completely open mind on this question.”
11:49am – Sotomayor, perhaps getting tired of repeating over and over again that she has an open mind on unsettled legal issues:”Senator, would you want a judge that came in here and said: ‘I agree with you, this unconstitutional'” without examining the record and facts of a particular case? “I don’t know that is the kind of judge I can be.”
11:51am – Coburn asks again about abortion. Notes that more than 80 percent of the world bans abortion after 12 weeks, but in the U.S. it is permitted “under the ‘health of the woman’ standard.”
11:55am – Sotomayor answers Coburn’s question as to whether the state of the law has ended the country’s debate over abortion after a long pause: “No.”
11:58am – Coburn closes by saying that he is still troubled by Sotomayor’s statements outside the Court, but thanks her for being “cordial” during the hearings.
12:00pm – Chairman Leahy says he doesn’t think Sotomayor’s confirmation would put the right to own guns in jeopardy; invites her to go target shooting in Vermont. Sen. Sessions interjects, saying the right would be in jeopardy. Leahy points out that Vermont does not have the restrictive gun laws that exist in Sessions’ home state of Alabama. Laughter. We don’t think Sessions is amused.
12:03pm – Sen. Franken is back up. Asks Sotomayor why she wants the SCOTUS job. “Given who I am, my love of the law, my sense if importance about the rule of law…have always created a passion in me…. I can’t think of any service that would be greater to the country.”
12:06pm – Sen. Franken: “I thought I was going to be the only thing between you and the door.” But he was wrong – the senators are beginning a third round of questions. 10 minutes each. We’re gonna be here all day, folks! Sen Sessions is back up.
12:08pm – Sessions asks if she’ll be able to survive on the SCOTUS salary. Does he realize it will be a bump up from the salary of a Circuit judge? And that living in New York isn’t cheaper than living in DC? Diplomatically, she answers that she has lived on a judge’s salary for 17 years. Back to the race issue.
12:10pm – Sessions said he is happy the race issue was discussed, but doesn’t ask another question about it. He said he won’t support a filibuster of the nominee, and that every senator should think carefully and vote on the nominee. He returns to Ricci. Still not happy with how the 2nd Circuit panel handled it.
12:16pm – Sotomayor: “I did not show a lack of courage” In that ruling. Sessions disagrees and wraps up his question session.
12:19pm – Sen. Orrin Hatch asks again about the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund. Sotomayor notes that she was not a lawyer for the group, she was a board member, and so she never reviewed the briefs or other legal filings of the group.
12:23pm – Hatch asks a constituent’s question: if Sotomayor thinks the role of the Supreme Court is to resolve societal inequities. She said it is not the role, even though rulings could have that effect. On to Heller. Sotomayor said she believes the justices exhibited fidelity to the law.
12:27pm – Sen. Chuck Grassley is up. Asks if she’s read Baker yet. On whether it constitutes the law of the land, Sotomayor said that issue is still unresolved and can go before her as a judge. “So at bottom, because the question is pending before a number of courts the ABA would not allow me to comment on the merits of that.”
12:33pm – Grassley asks if she thinks, as Souter said, the Supreme Court fills vacuums in the law. She said she wouldn’t use Souter’s words. Analogies can be dangerous, she said. Judges apply law, she said.
12:35pm – Sen. Kyl is up. Asking about standard of review.
12:42pm – Sotomayor has shown an adept ability to spot an abstract question. And she’s still not going to answer them.
12:46pm – Sen. Graham was wrong last time – he does get to talk to Sotomayor again. He notes that he agrees with Sen. Feingold on the issue of whether gun ownership is a fundamental right, and that doesn’t happen very often.
12:50pm – Graham asks about military detentions. He points out that the law has never required release based solely on the passage of time and “it would be crazy” to let go detainees who would go on to “try to kill us all.” Not really asking Sotomayor questions. Said that the process must be fair and transparent, but doesn’t require release of “an enemy who doesn’t wear a uniform.” Urges Sotomayor not to apply habeas to military detention cases.
12:56pm – Sen Cornyn is back up. More Heller questions. Asks the same question Hatch asked about fidelity to the law. Gets the same answer.
1:12pm – Sorry for the delay folks, it was due to a power-related technical difficulty. But we’re back up now. Sen. Coburn is up, but it looks like he’s almost done.
1:14pm – Leahy asks Sotomayor how she would approach a petition for staying an execution in advance of a certiorari petition. She said the certiorari petition would be a factor she would consider.
1:19pm – Sotomayor said she has received a fair hearing. Sessions asks for the admission of a number of articles and letters into the record. Leahy said the committee will hold the record open until 5pm tomorrow for additional records and statements.
1:22pm – Leahy thanks the nominee and members of their families’ for their “grace and patience.”
1:24pm – Leahy calls 10-minute recess. We’ll be back in a new post when the hearing continues.