Supreme Court Nominee Sotomayor a 'Bully on the Bench?'

She was asked by Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wis., on her take on affirmative action and she said she hoped that in "25 years, race in our society won't be needed to be considered in any situation."

She added, "That's the hope."

Kohl and others attempted to tease out Sotomayor's stances on controversial social issues, though she rarely showed her hand.

Kohl also asked the nominee if she believes that Roe v. Wade, the landmark case that found that a woman has a constitutional right to an abortion, is "settled law."

Sotomayor noted that in 1992, the Supreme Court "reaffirmed the holding in Roe," adding precedent on the abortion issue. She agreed that there is a right to privacy, though she did not say whether she agreed with the justices who reaffirmed the opinion in the 1992 case.

On the Second Amendment, Sotomayor recognized "how important the right to bear arms is to many, many Americans," adding that one of her godchildren is a member of the National Rifle Association and that she has friends who hunt.

Later in the hearing, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, referred to a footnote in an opinion she had authored in another case, asking whether her writing "leaves the impression that unless the right to bear arms is considered fundamental, any gun restriction is necessarily permissible under the Second Amendment."

"Is that what you believe?" Hatch asked.

Sotomayor responded no, and said, "I'm not taking an opinion on that issue, because it's an open question."

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