The White House is confident that Judge Sonia Sotomayor will be confirmed, after two days of rigorous questioning in which the Supreme Court nominee offered few details of her judicial philosophy and even fewer missteps.
"The president believes he has a nominee of rich and diverse experience, somebody who is going to uphold the law, and I think -- judging from how she has fared so far in the hearings -- somebody who will be approved by [the Senate Judiciary] committee and by the Senate to be the next justice on the Supreme Court," said spokesman Robert Gibbs during Wednesday's briefing.
The remarks showed a hint of confidence from a White House that so far has been pleased simply to let the Supreme Court process play itself out. On Wednesday, the third day of hearings for Sotomayor's nomination, the Supreme Court pick was asked about a bevy of judicial and personal issues. She largely evaded direct answers, other than calling her infamous "wise Latina" remark ill construed and to emphasize that she will not let a sense of empathy affect her jurisprudence.
The latter point seemed to contradict the very tenet that Obama once said he valued in prospective judges. But Gibbs said the president was not disappointed that he would not be getting an empathetic judge in Sotomayor.
"The president picked the person that he believed was the best possible nominee to fill an important vacancy on the court," he said. "I'm pretty sure that over in the White House residence there is not complete agreement on everything that is discussed.... But the president is not troubled."
Gibbs went on to note that Sotomayor's disavowal of allowing empathy to play into her decisions should put the "concerns" of critical conservative senators "to rest."
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