Transcript: Sens. Chuck Schumer and John Cornyn

SCHUMER: You know, we hear all these claims we don't want judicial activists, and that is true. We don't. Here, she was being modest, following the precedent of her court, not overruling what (inaudible) had been done. It would be quite different if New Haven -- if she was overruling what New Haven had done. So I think she was doing what a judge should do.

You can't have people say we don't want judicial activists, but then when there is a case that they don't like, they say overrule it, even though you're going outside the precedent of the law.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me bring that to Senator Cornyn, because if you look -- you're talking about looking at her entire record, if you looked not only at that case, but the judge's entire record in race- related cases -- this has been done by SCOTUSblog, Tom Goldstein, a Supreme Court scholar and lawyer -- and he shows that she's ruled in about 100 race-related cases and rejected claims of discrimination and bias 80 percent of the time. Doesn't that show that she's not bringing personal feelings to bear in an improper way?

CORNYN: Well, George, what you'll see from our side of the aisle during these hearings is members of the Judiciary Committee and senators who are not willing to prejudge or pre-confirm any nominee, but are committed to a fair process, and one that allows Judge Sotomayor to explain what the context is for all this and what her true feelings are.

I might say that's in stark contrast to the way Miguel Estrada was treated, somebody who was on a path to become the first Hispanic Supreme Court justice, and Clarence Thomas, somebody with a compelling story like Judge Sotomayor, but who was subjected, at least in his words, to a high-tech lynching.

So I think the most important thing that can happen here is, everybody take a deep breath, calm down. Let's take our time, let's review those 17 years of federal judicial history, and let's ask the nominee some questions in a dignified Senate process.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator, let me bring this back to you because...

SCHUMER: I just want to say, George, that John Cornyn is right and deserves to be commended. When some, you know, sort of on the hard right started saying she was a racist, or this or that, John Cornyn said it was terrible. And our Republican senators, to their credit, have not prejudged. I think when they examine her long and extensive record, when they see that she puts rule of record first, almost inevitably, when they see that, yes, her experience is reflected, but Justice Thomas talked about his experiences; Justice Alito talked about his experiences -- I think she's going to be approved by a very large majority.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Schumer, how do you respond to this charge of hypocrisy and double standards? You led the charge against Miguel Estrada when he was trying to -- when he was nominated for the appeals court. There were internal memos among Democrats, citing as one possible reason the fact that he would be an Hispanic elevated to the appeals court. Are you using a different standard for Judge Sotomayor than you used for Mr. Estrada?

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