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MR. SCOTT: Confirmation hearings for Judge Sonia Sotomayor are set to begin July 13th. The chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Patrick Leahy, setting the date without consulting Republican members. Now, they say the process is being rushed. It will force them to review 76 cases that she's handled per day just to prepare for the hearing.
Let's talk about it with Senator Lindsey Graham, a member of the Judiciary Committee. He joins us live from Capitol Hill.
Senator Graham, what do you think about this proposed schedule?
SEN. GRAHAM: I think when you do it unilaterally, you're going to get a hard time, it will be hard to get buy in. I will support Senator Sessions, the Ranking Member, Ranking Republican on Judiciary, to come up with a timeline he feels comfortable with. This would push us ahead of a confirmation schedule that we gave Chief Justice Roberts. I know the president wants this nominee dealt with quickly, but you've got to remember when he was Senator Obama, he voted to basically filibuster Judge Alito and I'm not going to be rushed into doing something I think is important for the country.
MR. SCOTT: Well, why do you think Democrats want to see this thing pushed along so quickly?
SEN. GRAHAM: Well, every president and every party trying to get a judge confirmed wants it done quickly, but we had a schedule set up for Justice Roberts that I thought was fair. He was confirmed on September 29th in time for the October session, but I guess they don't want scrutiny, I mean, the only thing I can suggest is that they think the more people look, the more problems she has and I think the American people need to scrutinize a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court and we intend to do that.
We're not going to be rushed into doing this. There's no good reason. We're not going to be pushed.
MR. SCOTT: Do Republicans have the clout; have the leverage here to slow the process down?
SEN. GRAHAM: Yeah, I think we've got a lot on our side. We've got a schedule set up for Chief Justice Roberts and Alito that this would be out of sync with. She has a longer record than either one of those judges and it takes time. We just got a questionnaire and we have a right to be thorough. We're not intending to obstruct this nomination, but we're going to make sure we understand who the nominee is, and yeah, I think we have some clout.
MR. SCOTT: Minority Leader McConnell is complaining about the fact that when she worked for the Puerto Rican Legal Defense Fund -- there were some documents about her views on the application of the death penalty that were not part of what she produced to the committee. The White House says that was an oversight. Senator McConnell seems to think it was much more serious than that.
SEN. GRAHAM: Well, I don't know if it was an oversight or not, but I know it's something we need to consider and just another reason to kind of make sure we do this in a thorough fashion and that's an example of what I'm talking about. You know, she seems like a nice person, but some of the things she said have been troubling to say the least, some of her decisions need to be scrutinized. I need to understand what makes her tick and how she thinks in her legal background and that's going to take some time and we're going to give it the time it deserves and when you put someone on the Supreme Court for a lifetime appointment, I think you deserve some serious scrutiny.
MR. SCOTT: Well, what about the political implications of all this? A lot of the readers of tea leaves say Republicans can't afford to alienate Hispanics and women and you have both of those huge voting blocs represented in Judge Sotomayor.
SEN. GRAHAM: Well, I don't believe Hispanic voters or Hispanic Americans would mind the Senate being thoughtful in considering a nominee for the Supreme Court and we're not going to have two schedules here. Someone has got political problems versus someone that doesn't. We're not going to allow ourselves to be goaded into that and I haven't had any reports from the Hispanic community that we're being unfair and I don't think we are. As a matter of fact, I think everybody, every American should want to know who this Supreme Court nominee is and what makes her tick in terms of her judicial philosophy and her reasoning and to give her a chance to explain herself in some ways that she needs to explain herself.
So I'm not worried about that one bit. I know I'm trying to be fair. I'm going to be fair. But I'm not going to be pushed to do something I think that is unfair.
MR. SCOTT: South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham. Thanks.
SEN. GRAHAM: Thank you.