WASHINGTON (CNN) - Judge Sonia Sotomayor broke with President Barack Obama Tuesday on the importance of empathy in judging, saying that she did not agree with his assertion that in a small number of tough cases "the legal process alone will not lead you to a rule of decision" and "the critical ingredient is supplied by what is in the judge's heart."
Asked by Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Arizona, to reply to the president's remark, Sotomayor said she "wouldn't approach the issue of judging in the way the president does."
Sotomayor told members of the Senate Judiciary Committee that Obama "has to explain what he meant by judging. I can only explain what I think judges should do, which is judges can't rely on what's in their heart. They don't determine the law. Congress makes the laws."
(CNN) - The office of First Lady Michelle Obama is now correcting a confirmation made to CNN earlier today. Communications Director Camille Johnston now says that Mrs. Obama's father, Fraser Robinson III, was buried at Lincoln Cemetery, not Burr Oak Cemetery.
Earlier in the day Johnston told CNN's Elaine Quijano that he is buried at Burr Oak Cemetery, and that there would be no additional comment.
When White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs was asked during a gaggle aboard Air Force One to comment on the original story, he had no comment.
Robinson worked for the City of Chicago's Water Department as a pump operator. He died in 1991.
Burr Oak Cemetery is at the center of a criminal scandal. Workers are accused of digging up bodies and reselling plots.
(This post has been updated to reflect the White House's correction of its original statement.)
(CNN) - Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's political action committee is confirming a flood of new donations that push her cash haul close to the million-dollar mark, as one of the nation's largest liberal PACs announced an ad targeting the former GOP vice presidential candidate.
Palin spokeswoman Meg Stapleton confirmed a report in the Anchorage Daily News that more than $200,000 had poured into SarahPAC since Palin's announcement a week and a half ago that she would be leaving office by the end of the month.
Those funds, along with $732,867 received through June 30 according to federal campaign finance filings, leave the governor just shy of a million dollars in donations to date since SarahPAC's January launch.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - By any measure, Pat Toomey's having a pretty good week.
On Monday, the Pennsylvania Republican learned that state senator Jane Orie wouldn't be challenging him in the GOP Senate primary next year – news that broke, coincidentally enough, the same day the former congressman's campaign announced a cash haul of $1.6 million for the quarter.
And today, the frontrunner got the nod from the National Republican Senatorial Committee. The NRSC resisted calls to endorse Toomey after Arlen Specter defected to the Democratic Party, as rumors swirled they were looking for a more moderate candidate to take on the incumbent. Last week, NRSC officials met with Orie – a visit they described as a courtesy call.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - As Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor faced her first day of questioning by the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday, President Obama sent a message to supporters asking them to forward an e-mail praising the judge to their individual networks of contacts.
The president praised Sotomayor as having a "brilliant legal mind . . . complemented by the practical lessons that can only be learned by applying the law to real world situations."
"And then there is Judge Sotomayor's incredible personal story," Obama also writes, making reference to Sotomayor's rags-to-robes rise from a South Bronx housing project to the federal appellate courts.
"It takes a certain resilience and determination to rise up out of such circumstances, focus, work hard and achieve the American dream," Obama tells his supporters.
In the message, Obama also seems to promise his supporters that Sotomayor will make a good showing up against what will likely be some tough questioning during the confirmation hearings.
"What members of the Judiciary Committee, and the American people, will see today is a sharp and fearless jurist who does not let powerful interests bully her into breaking from the rule of law."
(CNN) - Sen. Arlen Specter's campaign said Tuesday it raked in $1.73 million in the second quarter of this year, giving the Republican-turned-Democrat from Pennsylvania around $7.5 million in cash on hand.
"Our impressive fundraising this quarter demonstrates the strong support I have in the Democratic Party and across Pennsylvania," said Specter in a statement released by his campaign Tuesday.
Rep. Joe Sestak's re-election campaign reported Monday that the Pennsylvania Democrat raised more than $1 million in this year's second quarter, with around $4.2 million in the bank.
The two-term congressman from the state's 7th District has said that he plans to challenge Specter for the Democratic Senate nomination next year. Specter has the backing of President Barack Obama and party leaders as he gears up for re-election in 2010. On Tuesday, his campaign pointed to a new string of endorsements by local Democratic officials as evidence he was making headway in his efforts to win over the party's base.
On Monday, Pennsylvania Republican Pat Toomey said his campaign for the Senate has raised $1.6 million since he jumped into the race on April 15. Toomey's campaign also announced that they have $1.1 million cash on hand.
(CNN) - More than a week after the Labor Department announced the nation's unemployment rate had reached a 26-year high, President Obama warned Tuesday he expects the figure will continue to increase for "several months."
"How employment numbers are going to respond is not year clear," Obama told reporters before departing to Michigan for a speech on the state of the economy. "My expectation is that we will probably continue to see unemployment tick up for several months."
"We had a problem even before this recession, even during periods of economic growth, where the pace of job growth, wage growth, income growth was not moving as quickly as overall economic growth," said the president. "The last recession that we had, the recovery was termed a 'jobless recovery.' We can't repeat that approach."
The latest jobs report, released earlier this month, indicated 467,000 jobs were lost in the month from June, up from the 322,000 eliminated in May. Unemployment rose from 9.4 to 9.5 percent.
(CNN) - Community colleges are only two-year institutions, but the Obama administration says they could play a key role in helping to boost the ailing economy for years to come.
To underscore that contention, the president headed to Warren, Michigan, on Tuesday to unveil a plan that will invest $12 billion over the next decade in community colleges across the country.
In comments released by the White House before the Michigan event, Obama noted that the economic recession and a changing U.S. economy are reducing the number of automotive industry jobs, a mainstay in Michigan.
The "hard truth is that some of the jobs that have been lost in the auto industry and elsewhere won't be coming back. They are casualties of a changing economy," Obama said, adding that "even before this recession hit, we were faced with an economy that was simply not creating or sustaining enough new, well-paying jobs."
Obama called the investment in community colleges crucial because "jobs requiring at least an associate degree are projected to grow twice as fast as jobs requiring no college experience" in coming years.
"We will not fill those jobs - or keep those jobs on our shores - without the training offered by community colleges," the statement quoted Obama as saying.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The legality of presidential "signing statements" has to be decided on a case-by-case basis, Judge Sonia Sotomayor said Tuesday.
Sotomayor weighed in on the hotly contested subject during her Supreme Court confirmation hearings after Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, criticized former President Bush's decision to sign a 2005 bill banning torture only after attaching several caveats.
Feinstein noted that Bush issued a signing statement specifying that he would only enforce the measure when "consistent with the constitutional authority of the president to supervise the unitary executive branch."
Bush also said that the measure must be "consistent with the constitutional limitations on the judicial power."
Asked if the Constitution authorizes the president "to not follow parts of laws duly passed by the Congress that he is willing to sign," Sotomayor would only say that "the factual scenario before the court" must be considered in each particular situation.
(CNN) - In the closely contested battle for Virginia governor, campaign cash could be a crucial factor - and as of right now, the Republican gubernatorial candidate has more money in the bank than his Democratic rival.
Republican Bob McDonnell's campaign announced Tuesday that they have nearly $5 million cash on hand, and that they raked in over $1.8 million in the period ending June 30.
On Monday, Democratic candidate Creigh Deeds announced that his campaign has $2.7 million in the bank, with $3.4 million raised during the same period.