"You look at her record. She clearly puts rule of law first," said Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.
Schumer and other Senate Democrats have focused on the need for a thorough vetting process, even if its long, rather moving to lash out at Sotomayor's statements or judgments.
A coalition of liberal groups today launched a 30-second TV ad praising the Sotomayor's legal experience. These efforts come at the heel of enthusiastic language from the the president Tuesday night.
"This is a woman who will bring more experience on the bench than anyone currently serving on the Supreme Court. ... Nobody can say she's not qualified to be on the Supreme Court," Obama said at a fundraiser in Las Vegas. "Sonia Sotomayor's life is proof that all things are possible and when she ascends those marble steps to assume her seat on the highest court of the land, America will take another important step toward realizing the ideal that is chiseled above its entrance. Equal justice under the law. So I am inspired by her, I am honored to nominate her."
Obama would like to see Sotomayor confirmed before Congress breaks in August, but even though Republicans like Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, have voted to confirm Sotomayor in the past, Democrats know this could turn into a lengthy battle and raise an array of other issues.
"Democrats will welcome the battle," Carville said. Republicans "have every right to speak against this, and we encourage them to speak out."
In an emotional announcement Tuesday, Obama praised Sotomayor's life, as well as her academic and professional experience.
"As Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes once said, 'The life of the law has not been logic; it has been experience,'" Obama said, with Sotomayor by his side. "As impressive and meaningful as Judge Sotomayor's sterling credentials in the law is her own extraordinary journey. ... She's faced down barriers, overcome the odds, lived out the American dream that brought her parents here so long ago."
Sotomayor grew up in a drug-ridden housing project in South Bronx, where her mother worked extra shifts to send her daughter and son, now a doctor, through school.
On her first judgment of conviction for a drug offender in 1998, Sotomayor told the Associated Press, "That emotion will never leave me. ... A deep, deep sense of humility. And a deep, deep sense of, 'There but for the grace of God could I have gone,' and many that I have loved."
Sotomayor's friends said that even as a little girl, the avid Nancy Drew and Perry Mason fan was always persistent and investigative.
"Absolutely fearless. She is not easily intimidated," her friend Nancy Gray told ABC News.
Sotomayor attributes her success to her mother.
"I have often said that I am all that I am because of her, and I am only half the woman she is," the 54-year-old said of her mother at her nomination Tuesday.
Some critics say Sotomayor, who is divorced with no children, can be demanding on the bench and wasn't as collegial as other candidates vetted by the White House.
The concern was enough to prompt officials to call some of her colleagues in the appeals court, and they were satisfied with the feedback.
Those who have worked with her say she sets high expectations and can be exacting, but her former employees added that she is also very nurturing and supportive.