July 15th, 2009
05:40 PM ET
5 years ago

Sotomayor denies prejudging gun-control issue

Sonia Sotomayor responded strongly to Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions when he contended she had pre-judged the issue of gun control.
Sonia Sotomayor responded strongly to Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions when he contended she had pre-judged the issue of gun control.

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."


Filed under: Sonia Sotomayor • Supreme Court
soundoff (62 Responses)
  1. phoenix86

    Sotomayor perjured herself repeatedly in the confirmation hearings. I don't believe anything she says.

    July 15, 2009 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  2. Enlightened Voter

    All republicans care about is war, guns and money. They claim to be small gov yet they want to tell what to do and not to do with your body and whom you can and cannot marry. They claim to be pro life yet support the death penalty, war, support gun rights and hunting. How dare they try and force this woman to do anything what gives them the right other than their own self righteousness?

    July 15, 2009 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  3. Matt

    Wow. I am sure that she consider the "Right to Privacy" to be fundamental although it is not found in the Constitution. But she can't definitively say that the Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights is fundamental?

    I would like to question her logic... but there is NO logic to her reasoning. You can't have an expansive view of what is and isn't a fundamental right based solely on whether or not you politically like those rights... even a wise Latina with rich experiences should know that.

    July 15, 2009 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  4. FORMER republican, NEVER again!

    Dear God, please deliver us from these sanctimonious republicans who care more about gun rights than health care for all Americans! I could NEVER be a republican again and I only hope that God forgives me for the misguided years i voted as one.

    July 15, 2009 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  5. donttreadonme

    This nomination proves that lib dems like Obama don’t care if things are offensive to white males. If this had been reversed and a white man had spewed that crap would Obama have nominated him?

    It is becoming crystal clear that there is no room for white males or Christians of any race or sex in the new dem party.

    Many of you dems that are social conservatives and moderates need to wake up…the far left is here.

    July 15, 2009 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  6. Big Ed

    Senator Sessions is making a fool of himself. His questions and his demeanor appear to try to demean Ms. Sotonmayor. He's probably still hacked about his failed attempt at a federal bench. The "Party of No" should pull him aside and say "Enough". "NO more grandstanding!"

    July 15, 2009 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  7. Coburn = the David Duke of the U.S. Senate

    Senator Coburn sure has some "splainin" to do after his badgering of Sotomayor as if she were some human piñata. I guess Coburn sees political benefits of beating up on the first Hispanic on the Supreme Court.

    July 15, 2009 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  8. Ren from Baltimore

    Jeff Sessions: bigot, failed Superior Court nominee, lazy thinker, lazy speaker....why is this guy around? Who in the world wants this kind of representation?

    This guy is making the U.S. of A. look like a nation of dunces!

    July 15, 2009 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  9. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    I'm not a lawyer, but if Sen. Sessions ran for a Federal seat in the past, shouldn't he know legal jargon?

    July 15, 2009 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  10. abraxis

    If we were still in need of compiling people for a militia then the 2nd Amendment would still be relevant. If people can shoot animals without use automatic weapons, then OK.

    Most profits that are made from this antiquated "right" are benefiting the corporations, not the people in our society.

    People can have guns to hunt, but let's take the automatic and hand guns off the streets so we don't have to be labeled with the dubious honor of having the most gun deaths than the top 7 industrialized countries COMBINED!

    July 15, 2009 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  11. Frank, Las Vegas

    Sessions is an idiot, no wonder this very committee turned him down for a federal judgeship, a much lower one too. sessions should recuse himself from the senate. I feel sorry for the state of Alabama.

    July 15, 2009 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  12. makesUwonder

    HRH Obama, Prince Reid, Princess Pelosi and Sotomayor would all like to take our guns away because they know........an armed citizen is the best neutralizer against an abusive government...

    July 15, 2009 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  13. JR

    Give her this, she makes the GOP senators look like buffoons and idiots. Of course, that isn't that big a feat. They're kinda "unarmed" in a mental dual with Sotomayor.

    July 15, 2009 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  14. Dave

    the US Constitution provides a guarneteed right to own guns PERIOD. I do not own a gun or will never own a gun but will fight for the right of any American to own any gun they wish to own.

    If you believe in the Constitution, you will agree. If you only believe in HATRED, such as much of the folks who post irrational comments about President Bush, then you will disagree.

    Try opening your mind

    July 15, 2009 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  15. RR

    I am sick of Sotomayor saying she was following precedent or other courts. Her job is to follow the CONSTITUTION!

    she needs to do what the constitution says, not what other judges say.

    July 15, 2009 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  16. Larry

    Sotomayor will be a great asset to the Supreme Court. She should be approved without any problems.

    July 15, 2009 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  17. WhoCares?

    Anyone else find it ridiculous that the man who FAILED HIS OWN confirmation hearing (Sessions) due to blatent racism is even in this committee.

    July 15, 2009 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  18. Dennis

    Justice S can deny it all she wants–but conservative independents know the deal already. Unfortunately, there's nothing that can be done to stop her confirmation. As this is the case, why do we have to watch a superfluous and false hearing when the outcome is predetermined? We already get it–SCOTUS has one less vote for guarding our Constitutional rights. She's an Equal Opportunity success story who knows which side of the aisle paid her way. She will never allow TV inside the Supreme Court because the Justices want to preserve the one day a week they all get naked and go crazy–just kidding.

    July 15, 2009 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  19. Jonathan

    What a waste of time this all is. She is beyond qualified and she's "IN" anyway, so lets move one with it. . . UP OR DOWN VOTE, like the Republicans always loved so much.

    July 15, 2009 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  20. AntiRush

    How sad when she has to explain to him the legal definition of fundamental. Why would someone recuse themself based on a prior ruling? The Supreme court selects cases to hear based on whether there is a new precedent to look at. So for instance, since they ruled on a case involving a sweeping handgun ban in D.C., they wouldn't rule on such a case again. There would have to be a different component to a case involving hand guns for them to rule on it. By the way, the Supreme Court has ruled that abortion is legal, and that the second ammendment gives US citizens the right to bear arms. Isn't it interesting that the Repubs refuse to recognize the first ruling, and embrace as eternally unchangeable the second.

    July 15, 2009 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  21. Lisa C

    Sessions is my Senator and believe me he's as backerds as they come. Too bad most of his type are merely defending their manhood which they associate with guns. Not their right to have them. Their gun takes place of what their lacking in the privacy area. Abortion is their pedestal, to make them 'feel' like they're one with God and that they are protecting human life. One piece of advice for them, 'don't have an abortion' and don't force anyone else to have one. One sentence for these Pharisee's faking as Christians: try loving the living regardless of race, creed, color, sex, or religion.

    July 15, 2009 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  22. nelson

    Another gun-control freak.. I wonder how many more revelations
    there will be before our "leaders" see what she really is about,
    and that is to be in the Supreme Court.. no matter how much
    she has to lie. omo

    July 15, 2009 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  23. Alicia

    Coburn mocking this phenomenal woman by say 'you got some splainin' to do' (Ricky Ricardo of I Love Lucy.) How racist!!!!!!

    Then Sessions the biggest racist of all time with his calling a Black lawyer 'boy'. Then he mentions how another judge voted the opposite of Sotomayor and he was Puerto Rican! What the heck is going on?

    The Republicans are stuck in the 1940's and 1950's.

    July 15, 2009 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  24. dustin

    sessions has been a joke.

    July 15, 2009 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  25. johnnie

    Judge Sotomayor, is making (jeff sessions) look like ,what he is a (I dont have prayer and i am a foolish ,fool.) The gun control issue is ,does not apply to the law. Now here we have a (JUDGE) who has been on the lower courts for 17years,and knows the law of the land very well. And this (I DONT HAVE A CLUE WHAT AM TALKING ABOUT)to ambush this appointee, with dumb (Qand A)...(SESSIONS) needs to either go back to (SCHOOL) or study before he (QUESTIONS) this bright and intelligent choice for the(SUPREME COURT) . SHE is tough and has put (sessions in checkmate).Alabama needs (Charles Barkley ) to run for (senate) in the next election for senate in ALABAMA, he would win...(SESSIONS needs Political Steriods) he is so (south). HE cant stump (Judge Sotomayor ) on gun controll, and is making himself look like the (BIGOT) he is.....PREDICTION.. south will turn more blue in 2012.

    July 15, 2009 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
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