WASHINGTON (CNN) – U.S. Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor on Wednesday strongly rejected a Republican senator's contention that she had pre-judged the issue of gun control, insisting at her confirmation hearing that wasn't true.
Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, asked if she would recuse herself from future gun control cases because she ruled in the past that the right to bear arms under the Second Amendment does not apply to state gun control laws.
"I have not made up my mind. I didn't say that I didn't believe it was fundamental," Sotomayor shot back.
She explained that the word "fundamental" in legal terms refers to whether a federal statute applies to the states. Her ruling cited by Sessions referred to a prior case that made the determination, Sotomayor said, so she was following the precedent.
Previously in the confirmation hearing that started Monday, Sotomayor said she recognizes an individual right to bear arms as recently identified by Supreme Court in the ruling District of Columbia v. Heller.
The recent Supreme Court 5-4 ruling concluded that a sweeping handgun ban in the nation's capital violated the constitutional right to "keep and bear arms."