WASHINGTON - (AP) - Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor declined repeatedly at Senate confirmation hearings Wednesday to discloseher views on abortion rights.
Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., sought to draw her out with questions about hypothetical cases, including one in which a woman wanted to abort a 38-week fetus with a birth defect. In regard to the question Sotomayor responded, "I can't answer ... because I can't look at it in the abstract.? Even if she knew more about the specifics of a case, she added, "I probably couldn't opine because I'm sure that situation might well arise before the court."
Sotomayor, known as the first Hispanic on the Supreme Court, also sidestepped when asked whether the Second Amendment right to bear arms applies to state laws as well as the federal government. She also avoided being drawn into a discussion about Congress' authority under the Constitution to regulate financial markets.
Sonia Sotomayor?s controversial ?wise Latina? comment, "I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn?t lived that life,? has been the cause of much negative attention to the Supreme Court nominee.A vote by the full Senate to confirm Sotomayor is expected in early August, allowing her to don the robes of a justice before the opening of a new term in October. The Judiciary Committee hearings are expected to conclude Thursday.