Sen. Orrin Hatch, the second-most-senior Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, congratulated Sonia Sotomayor as the first person of Puerto Rican heritage to be nominated to the Supreme Court, but said he would carefully examine Sotomayor's "understanding of the power and role of judges in our system." See his statement below:
I congratulate Judge Sotomayor on her nomination and commend President Obama for nominating the first person of Puerto Rican heritage to the United States Supreme Court. The confirmation process must focus on determining whether Judge Sotomayor is qualified to serve on the Supreme Court. Qualifications for judicial service include not only experience and character but, most importantly, a proper understanding of the power and role of judges in our system of government. Judges must decide cases based on the law, not on their personal views or opinions. Judges swear an oath to decide cases impartially, without regard to the identity of the parties before them. I will focus on determining whether Judge Sotomayor is committed to deciding cases based only on the law as made by the people and their elected representatives, not on personal feelings or politics. I look forward to a fair and thorough process.