Republicans Attack Sotomayor Questionnaire, Say It Was Too Hastily Prepared

By Lindsey Ellerson

Jun 10, 2009 5:39pm

ABC News' Z. Byron Wolf and Sunlen Miller report: Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee, still smarting at what they say is a rushed schedule for Sonia Sotomayors’ Supreme Court nomination hearing, sent Sotomayor a letter Wednesday asking her to clarify what they say are omissions from her questionnaire.

Sen. Jeff Sessions, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, blasted the White House in a speech on the Senate floor Wednesday for racing to get the nominees questionnaire to the committee and failing to complete it. 

“This is a confirmation process, not a confirmation race,” said Sessions. “And the White House, I think, should focus more on having a thorough and complete answer to the questionnaire, not on entering the Guinness book of record for the fastest response. We know now that Judge Sotomayor has omitted and failed to include key information that provided incomplete and sometimes contradictory responses to the questionnaire. the responses are not satisfactory.”

They allege in their letter that the omissions include everything from failing to provide transcripts or in-depth summaries from a number of the 191 speeches Sotomayor says she has given, to failing to include some court documents from 14 cases she argued because, “the Manhattan District Attorneys is searching its records for further information on these cases.”

They also point to a question that asks for articles in law journals for which Sotomayor has written or edited. While Sotomayor included articles she wrote, she did not include any material for the Yale Law Review, of which she was editor.

Other complaints seem less severe. On one spot in the questionnaire Sotomayor says she served as a “member and vice president of the board of directors” of the Puerto Rican Education and Legal Defense Fund.  In another spot she refers to herself as a having served as “first vice president.” The Republicans want a clarification. 

In all, Republican members demand clarification on ten points in their four page letter. 

Following GOP complains that there have been omissions from Sotomayor’s questionnaire, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said that any information lacking will be provided in a timely manner. 

“As is the case with many Supreme Court nominees, additional information based on questions that they have or going back into the record quite some time, for instance, whether it's her work as a district attorney, obviously, that was a number of years ago, those files have to be pulled," said Gibbs.  "And anything that is lacked in the questionnaire will be provided in a timely manner to the committee.”

Gibbs said, for example that John Roberts had “thousands of pages” in the achieves that ultimately had to be delivered after the original questionnaire was sent to the Hill.  

All this speaks to the speed with which Democrats want to hold Sotomayor’s confirmation hearings – starting July 13th.

Democrats say that’s plenty of time for Republicans to review Sotomayor’s record. Republicans disagree. There will be no resolution to this very political argument.

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