[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/07/16/art.sotoconfirm07161.gi.jpg caption="Sonia Sotomayor said Thursday that the Supreme Court appears to 'have the capacity to take on more cases.'"]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sonia Sotomayor might be pushing her likely future colleagues to work harder.
Asked Thursday by Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Pennsylvania, if the Supreme Court should increase its caseload, the nominee told her Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing that it appeared the docket could be increased.
"It does appear that the Supreme Court docket has lessened over time," Sotomayor said on the fourth day of the committee's confirmation hearing. "Because of that, it does appear it has the capacity to take on more cases."
It's unclear how the rest of the justices will feel about that.
According to Specter, the Supreme Court decided 451 cases in 1886, with 161 signed opinions in 1985. In the 2008-2009 session that ended recently, there were 75 signed opinions.
The issue involves both the cases decided by the nation's highest court, as well as those it rejects. Some Democratic senators on the Judiciary Committee have complained that the Supreme Court effectively ruled on vital issues by refusing to hear them.