What's Ahead for Sotomayor?

Sotomayor's first critical tests will happen this week when she starts her meetings on Capitol Hill, but so far, all indications are that she will receive a friendly welcome.

Sotomayor begins the process of navigating the often tricky halls of the Senate, led by Schumer, who is "somebody who obviously has been around a number of court confirmations," said White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.

Gibbs said that Sotomayor has already reached out by telephone to key Senate leaders, including Majority Leader Harry Reid, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy and Ranking Member Jeff Sessions.

On Tuesday Sotomayor will meet with Reid, Leahy and Sessions, and a meeting with McConnell is being scheduled. She is likely to then start working her way through the members of the Judiciary Committee.

The meetings could take weeks, and while they may seem like an opportunity for Sotomayor to sell herself to senators, in fact it is the other way around, according to veterans of the confirmation process.

The meetings are more about senators speaking their mind and outlining for Sotomayor their own judicial philosophies. But she could get hints of the lines of questioning she will face in her confirmation hearing.

"Mostly these meetings are really as much or more about listening to the senators than necessarily sharing all your inner most thoughts," Gillespie said. "Judges aren't accustomed to being judged and that's the situation in which they find themselves, Judge Sotomayor finds herself right now."

Sotomayor is still completing the questionnaire from the Senate Judiciary Committee, a 10-page detailed document that she must hand in prior to her public hearing before the committee.

The committee documents ask questions about potential conflicts of interest, such as "Explain how you will resolve any potential conflict of interest, including the procedure you will follow in determining these areas of concern."

Sotomayor is asked to provide financial and past employment information, copies of all her published writings and statements, and her memberships in "professional, business, fraternal, scholarly, civic, charitable, or other organizations."

The White House said the completed questionnaire will be sent to the Senate at some point next week.

Republican Opposition Is Muted, White House Plans Strategic Response

Cutter and her team's job may be easier than expected -- the fight from the right may not be as fierce as they have been preparing for.

So far, 27 Republican senators have issued public statements on Sotomayor's nomination and not one launched an attack.

Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., was the first, and thus far only, Republican senator to say he will vote against Sotomayor's nomination.

"I voted no in 1998," Roberts said to a Kansas radio station, referring to the vote on Sotomayor's nomination to the appeals court. "I did not feel she was appropriate on the appeals court. ... Since that time, she has made statements on the role of the appeals court I think is improper and incorrect." Conservative interest groups are looking at the Sotomayor confirmation as a way to raise money, rally dispirited supporters and push their agenda. They may wind up disappointed by the muted opposition from Republican senators who could use the summer hearings as a "teaching moment" or a way to lay the groundwork for opposition to future nominees.

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