Is Sonia Sotomayor Good for the West?

June 2009
udall-mark_with-flagEarlier this week, neophyte U.S. Senator Michael Bennet lined up with President Barack Obama and said he'd like to see Judge Sonia Sotomayor placed on the Supreme Court (via 5280). And after quizzing the appeals court judge from New York on issues of the West yesterday, Senator Mark Udall told The Denver Post he's "very inclined" to support her confirmation. "She comes across as an excellent jurist. She's curious, she's well-read, she's very composed," Udall said after his sit-down with the country's potentially first Latina justice. Still, he says Sotomayor lacks experience with issues sure to be red hot in coming years: water and public lands laws. Udall also touched on some of the controversies surrounding Sotomayor's nomination, including her comment in a 2001 speech that "a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experience" would probably be a better judge "than a white male who hasn't lived that life." Udall says the comment, which has provided an endless source of commentary and analysis on cable talk shows, such as Fox's O'Reilly Factor, must be viewed within the context the remarks were made. "I believe she was talking about anyone of us bringing our personal experience to our life and the decisions we make," Udall says. Republicans claim many questions about Sotomayor remain unanswered, according to CNN, including the nature of materials she edited while at Yale Law School. Meanwhile, The New York Times looks back to a time when Sotomayor declared herself "a product of affirmative action."