WASHINGTON (CNN) - Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor admitted years ago she was a "product of affirmative action" when she was admitted to prestigious universities, but defended the contributions she offered as a Hispanic woman to classroom and workplace diversity.
The statements were part of newly-released videos of speeches and panels dating from the mid 1980s that the 54-year-old federal judge provided to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which will hold confirmation hearings to the high court beginning July 13.
The remarks offer often candid insights into the New York native's views on the law, growing up poor in a Bronx housing project, juggling a career and a social life, and her 1980s divorce.
(CNN) - President Barack Obama took his health care reform push on the road Thursday, saying in Green Bay, Wisconsin, that those concerned with high costs and rising deficits should be proponents of change to an ailing system.
"If you're worried about spending and you're worried about deficits, you need to be worried about the cost of health care," he said at a town hall meeting, later adding that doing nothing would cost far more in the coming years.
He aimed his comments at Republican opponents of Democratic-backed proposals for a government-funded national health care option intended to ensure that 47 million Americans lacking health insurance can sign up for - and afford - coverage.
Republican leaders specifically oppose the government-funded plan, fearing it would lead to eventual elimination of private health insurance.
Obama acknowledged he supports what is called the national option, saying it would increase competition for private plans. At the same time, the president insisted a national plan would be one of many choices as part of reforms intended to strengthen the U.S. system.
"If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor," he said to applause. "If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan."
Savings in spending on federal Medicare and Medicaid programs, as well as decreasing tax deductions for high-income Americans, would help cover increased costs of health care reform, Obama said.
He noted that some facilities and places, including Green Bay, offer better medical care at a lower price than others.
Full prepared remarks after the jump:
Some are calling it the "Cairo effect"… they're referring to indications that President Obama's speech last week has already resonated with the Muslim world. In it, the president made clear that countries that don't back extremists are more likely to win the favor of the West — and avoid isolation.
The first test came last weekend during Lebanon's elections, where an American-backed coalition defeated the Hezbollah-backed group. Most analysts had predicted that the Hezbollah-led coalition would win…
But The New York Times reports that while there are many domestic reasons why the pro-west coalition won, many also point to Mr. Obama's campaign of outreach to the Muslim world: "For the first time in a long time, being aligned with the United States did not lead to defeat in the Middle East."
Analysts highlight steps the new administration has already taken to ease tensions with Muslims. For example, they are proposing talks with Iran and Syria — rather than confrontation — which makes it harder for Hezbollah and other extremists to demonize the U.S.
To read more and contribute to the Cafferty File discussion, click here
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Obama on Thursday will step up his role in the health care debate, discussing the issue at a town hall meeting in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
The White House has increased its pressure on Congress to pass comprehensive health care legislation no later than October, but key aspects of Obama's health care wish list have met resistance with Republicans and even conservative Democrats.
However, a new proposal to create privately operated health-insurance cooperatives as an alternative to a government-run health care plan is gaining steam in the Senate, several key senators said Wednesday.
The plan is shaping up as possibly the most viable way to bridge a key difference between Democrats and Republicans negotiating a health care overhaul, senators said.
(CNN) - Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor is set to meet with seven more senators Thursday, the White House announced.
SCHEDULE OF JUDGE SOTOMAYOR’S CAPITOL HILL MEETINGS
THURSDAY, JUNE 11
Today, Judge Sotomayor will visit Capitol Hill to meet with the following Senators:
Senator Daniel Akaka
Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison
Senator Bill Nelson
Senator Jack Reed
Senator Debbie Stabenow
Senator Jon Tester
Senator Mark Udall
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Four Chinese nationals of Uighur ethnicity held at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention facility have been resettled in Bermuda, the Justice Department announced Thursday.
They were among 17 Uighur detainees at the facility set up to hold terror suspects.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum remained closed Thursday, its flags lowered to half-staff in tribute to a security guard who was killed trying to stop a man with a gun.
Authorities identified the suspect, who was wounded by other security guards, as 88-year-old white supremacist James von Brunn of Maryland.
The Metropolitan Police Department; the D.C. office of the FBI; the U.S. attorney's office and other federal and local officials will hold a news conference Thursday morning to discuss charges against von Brunn.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - As time ticks down to July 13 - the recently announced date for the start of Judge Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation hearings - Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee are asking Sotomayor for more information about her lengthy legal career that includes almost two decades on the federal bench.
A letter to Sotomayor signed by every Republican on the committee and dated Wednesday states that committee staff "have noted a number of apparent omissions" in the materials Sotomayor recently submitted.
"In addition, we believe that some of your responses are incomplete," the letter also says. The seven Republican senators ask Sotomayor to "revisit the questionnaire and provide another supplement as soon as possible." Alternatively, "[i]f you believe that your questionnaire is fully responsive, we would appreciate an explanation to that effect," the Republicans tell Sotomayor.
Among other things, the letter asks Sotomayor to provide copies of materials she edited while at Yale Law School, to explain why an all-female organization that she belongs to does not violate the federal courts' Code of Judicial Conduct, and to provide more information about nearly 200 speeches, remarks, or lectures she has given.
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