WASHINGTON (CNN) – Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor could be her own worst enemy in her Senate confirmation hearings if her reputation for being tough on lawyers from the bench is to be believed, a conservative Hispanic said Tuesday.
"She could Bork herself," said Manuel Miranda, the chairman of the conservative group the Third Branch Conference. "It's very possible."
"Think about it: Sam Alito, soft spoken; John Roberts, affable and soft spoken; Sandra Day O'Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg . . . all of them soft spoken. This nominee's more like Judge Bork. She has a temper. She has an attitude. She could come across as hubristic in the hearings – as arrogant."
Miranda's comments came on the same day that his organization requested that the Republican leadership in the Senate mount a filibuster of Sotomayor's confirmation vote in order to allow sufficient time for conservative judicial philosophies to get a public airing during confirmation process.
"We call on you instead to display leadership, if the nominee merits it, in preparing for the use of the traditional filibuster, not intended to obstruct, together with moderate
Democrats, so that the debate on the Senate floor is appropriately long and, therefore, suitably catalyzed to the American people," says Third Branch's letter to Senate Republicans.
The letter is "an attempt to speak for the conservative movement – as best one can," Miranda said Tuesday.
Miranda, who like Sotomayor is Hispanic and grew up in New York City, also said he thought the judge's oft-emphasized status as a Latina is being used to try to intimidate conservatives into not opposing her nomination.
"We're not putting a lot of focus on the fact that she is a Latina woman. It would be better if she were a Latina woman that didn't say the kind of things she's said and didn't write the kind of things she writes. That's not the issue."
"We make a mistake if we do not come to grips, acknowledge, recognize, and then move on the issue of the great life story, the inspiring life story," Miranda added about Sotomayor's rise from working class roots. "It is an inspiring life story, it is a great aspect of national pride."
In order to avoid possibly alienating Hispanics while opposing Sotomayor, Miranda suggested that Republicans should focus their criticism on the substantive aspects of Sotomayor's nomination.
Republicans need to put "substance into the void," Miranda said. "A vote against this nominee without substance is going to be problematic. We have to explain our vote."