South Carolina's Lindsey Graham went on the attack, quoting others' critiques of Sonia Sotomayor. "She can be a bit of a bully … in terms of temperament."
Sotomayor agreed that she did "ask tough questions in oral arguments."
Senator Graham asked if she was the only one on the court who did so.
Sotomayor explained that the Second Circuit is known as a "hot bench," that lawyers are only given ten minutes to make their arguments and that judges often pepper them with questions. "Lots of lawyers who are unfamiliar with the process of the Second Circuit find that tough bench difficult and challenging."
Lindsey Graham snapped back, "They find YOU difficult and challenging...Do you think you have a temperament problem?"
And then he moved on to the topics of abortion and the death penalty.
Graham: "Is the mssion statement of the Puerto Rican Legal Defense Fund to provide taxpayer abortions?" Is it a 'form of slavery' not to provide them? Would it bother you if that's what the Fund said?
Sotomayor responded that she knew the fund was involved in public health issues.
Graham asked, "Is abortion a public health issue? Do you view it as that?"
He moved on to the death penalty. Should the death penalty be stricken because it constitutes racial discrimination as the Fund suggests? "What’s your view of the death penalty? Personally."
Sotomayor followed a well trod path: "The Supreme Court has determined that death penalty is constitutional under certain situations..."
Graham ended by saying that the positions Sotomayor took with the Puerto Rican Legal Defense Fund, like her speeches, "tell us something."
He'll return to the topics in the next round of questioning.