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Sotomayor, Like Past Nominees, Saying Little

ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

On some other matters today, Judge Sotomayor said she agrees with the U.S. Supreme Court's interpretation of the second amendment as affirming an individual right, not just a malitial right, to bear Arms. But she noted the court's policy that it is not a right that must be imposed on the states. In legal parlance: It's not a fundamental right. She also said that a right to privacy is settled law and so is the court holding of Roe v. Wade.

NPR's Ari Shapiro has been following the hearing all day. Ari, did today's hearing break any new ground in terms of either the questioning or the candor of the nominee's answers?

ARI SHAPIRO: You know, Robert, people have been saying that if judges were really umpires, as in baseball, that you can then have robots on the Supreme Court. Well, I don't think you could have robots on the Supreme Court, but I think you actually could have robots carry out these Supreme Court confirmation hearings.

SIEGEL: In the confirmation hearing.

SHAPIRO: Because…

SIEGEL: This is not the full blooded…

(Soundbite of laughter)

SIEGEL: … Judge Sotomayor that you've been studying.

SHAPIRO: No, in fact those comments that you just made - that you just repeated about the right to privacy as settled law. Well, Justice Alito and Chief Justice Roberts said almost the exact same thing in their confirmation hearings. On one point after another, Sotomayor today gave as little away as she possibly could while still answering the senator's question. You know, Nina Totenberg, and I and many others have been studying this woman's background and her professional work and her personal life for months. The woman we're seeing in the Senate today bares so little resemblance to that woman that we've been studying.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SHAPIRO: She is so low key, so boring. Saying so many things that any of President Bush's Supreme Court nominees could have said, you know, it's pretty clear that she's got the votes to get confirmed and is just trying to get right on through.

SIEGEL: And we assume she intends to be equally boring tomorrow.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SHAPIRO: We do.

SIEGEL: NPR's Ari Shapiro, thank you very much. And you can watch live coverage of the Sotomayor hearings all week at NPR.org. You can also download our one hour wrap-up specials on the hearings. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Ari Shapiro has been one of the hosts of All Things Considered, NPR's award-winning afternoon newsmagazine, since 2015. During his first two years on the program, listenership to All Things Considered grew at an unprecedented rate, with more people tuning in during a typical quarter-hour than any other program on the radio.
Prior to his retirement, Robert Siegel was the senior host of NPR's award-winning evening newsmagazine All Things Considered. With 40 years of experience working in radio news, Siegel hosted the country's most-listened-to, afternoon-drive-time news radio program and reported on stories and happenings all over the globe, and reported from a variety of locations across Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia. He signed off in his final broadcast of All Things Considered on January 5, 2018.