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Senator Feinstein not as calm as Sotomayor

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Federal appeals judge Sonia Sotomayor spent the day calmly answering questions from senators on the Judiciary Committee who are considering her nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. KPCC’s Washington Correspondent Kitty Felde reports that the judge in the spotlight was much calmer than the senior senator from California.

As expected, Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee questioned Sonia Sotomayor about gun control, property rights, and the role of personal prejudice in the interpretation of the law. For hours on end, Judge Sotomayor calmly and slowly answered each question. Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein of California told the nominee that she wasn’t sure she’d have done as well if she’d been sitting in Sotomayor’s place.

Dianne Feinstein: "I must say, that if there’s a test for judicial temperament, you pass it with an A++. I want you to know that. Because I wanted to respond and my adrenaline was moving along, and you have just sat there very quietly and responded to questions that in their very nature are quite provocative. So I want to congratulate you about that."

Senator Feinstein questioned Judge Sotomayor about executive power – whether the president has the power to sign legislation and also include a statement saying he’d only enforce the parts of the law he believed in. Congress was frustrated when President Bush did this.

Sotomayor said her response would depend on what Congress authorized the president to do. If he acted in what she termed the “lowest ebb,” she said, the president would be entering the “zone of twilight.”