While Republicans seek more time to go through all of Sotomayor's legal opinions, Democrats point out that they were able to get through thousands of pages of documents that were written by Roberts when he served in the Reagan administration.
The number of days between a nomination and a hearing has varied throughout the years. While Justice Samuel Alito had 70 days to prepare for his hearings, which were held when the Republicans had a majority in the Congress, the Democratic majority scheduled Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's hearing 36 days after her nomination was announced.
In his floor statement, Leahy outlined why he thought it was important for the hearings to commence nearly a month before the Senate takes its August recess on Aug. 7.
"I also want to conclude the process without unnecessary delay so that she might participate fully in the deliberations of the Supreme Court selecting cases and preparing for its new term," he said.
Democrats, Republicans Spar Over Sotomayor
While the Democratic National Committee has set up a comments section on its Web site, where well-wishes can virtually "sign" Sotomayor's ankle cast, the Senate Republican Communications Center points out that in 2005, Leahy, then the ranking member of Senate Judiciary, once pressured the Republicans to give the Democrats more time in the confirmation process of Roberts.
"We need to consider this nomination as thoroughly and carefully as the American people deserve," he said then. "It's going to take time."
Republicans are also beginning to scrutinize videos Sotomayor has submitted to the committee of various speeches and appearances she has made during the years. In one clip, Sotomayor says, "I am a product of affirmative action ... My test scores were not compatible to that of my colleagues at Princeton and Yale ... Not so far off the mark that I wasn't able to succeed at those institutions."
Wendy Long of the conservative Judicial Confirmation Network says that the comments reflect an unfair bias also evident in Sotomayor's participation in a three-judge panel that threw out the claims of white firefighters in New Haven, Conn., who were denied promotions based on their race.
"She benefited from racial preferences and now, as a judge, she wants to impose the quotas and preferences she favors, instead of applying the Constitution and Bill of Rights fairly to all," Long said.
The case is now being reviewed by the Supreme Court.