WASHINGTON (CNN) - Under persistent questioning on her personal views on abortion and gun control, Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor repeatedly avoided direct answers Wednesday by saying she needed the specific circumstances of a case in order to respond.
Republican Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma pushed Sotomayor to express her opinions on whether certain abortions would be legal and whether a person has a fundamental right to possess firearms and a right to self-defense. Each time, Sotomayor said would need to know the specifics of a particular case, such as applicable state statutes and other facts.
Sensing Coburn 's frustration over her responses, she offered an explanation.
"What we do is different than the conversations citizens have about what they want the law to do," Sotomayor said on the third day of her Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing.
Judges look at the facts of a case and apply the law based on those facts, she said.
"It's not that we make a broad policy choice and say this is what we want," she continued.
Throughout the hearing, conservative Republicans have criticized what they call activist judges seeking to change the law to push a liberal agenda. Democrats have responded with criticism of Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts for consistently supporting Republican positions in his opinions, which they called judicial activism.
Sotomayor has consistently responded to questions about her judicial philosophy by saying she is guided by the Constitution and judicial precedents.