The Senate Judiciary Committee opened the historic confirmation hearing for Sonia Sotomayor, the first nominee to the Supreme Court by a Democratic president in 15 years, at 9:58 a.m. today with Democratic and Republican senators beginning to frame the debate over her nomination.
In a packed hearing room of the Hart Senate Office Building, Sotomayor, 55, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, made her first public appearance since President Obama on May 26 chose her to fill his first vacancy on the nation's highest court. Five minutes before the hearing began, Sotomayor wore a broad smile and a royal blue suit as she walked into the paneled room, accompanied by the committee's chairman, Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.)
Moments before the Senators began their opening statements that are to occupy most of the hearing's first day, Leahy invited the nominee to introduce her family members occupying the room's front rows. "If I introduced everyone who was family-like," Sotomayor replied, "we'd be here all morning."