Questioning Judge Sonia Sotomayor for the second time, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told the Supreme Court nominee that in the past, she has "said some things that just bug the hell out of me."
But the South Carolina Republican left the impression that he would end up supporting Sotomayor's nomination, declaring, at one point, that she had proven that she could separate her history as an activist and a judge.
"Here's what I will say about you," Graham said. "I don't know how you're going to come out on [a second amendment case]. Because I think fundamentally, Judge, you're able, after all these years of being a judge, to embrace a right that you may not want for yourself, to allow others to do things that are not comfortable to you but for the group, they're necessary. That is my hope for you. That's what makes you to me more acceptable as a judge and not an activist because an activist would be a judge who would be chomping at the bit to use this wonderful opportunity to change America through the Supreme Court by taking their view of life and imposing it on the rest of us. I think and believe, based on what I know about you so far, that you're broad-minded enough to understand that America is bigger than the Bronx, it is bigger than South Carolina."
The questioning from Graham contained the type of lecturer's tone that Sotomayor's defenders found so objectionable when the two squared off on Tuesday. Like then, the senator peppered Obama's choice for the court with a series of questions focusing on her past work for the Puerto Rican Legal Defense Fund, her definition of identity politics and her infamous "wise Latina" remark. On the latter point, Graham ended his portion of the question and answer session with a dramatic flare.
"As Sen. [Diane] Feinstein said, you have come a long way. You have worked very hard you have earned the respect of Ken Starr... and you have said some things that just bug the hell out of me," Graham declared. Switching to some of her more controversial statements, he asked: "To those who may be bothered by that, what do you say?"
"I regret that I have offended some people," Sotomayor responded. "I believe that my life demonstrates that that was not my intent to leave the impression that some have taken from my words."
The court nominee was about to elaborate on her point, only to be abruptly interrupted.
"You know what Judge," Graham declared. "I agree with you, good luck."
And with that, the South Carolinian had ended his time allotment.