On Tuesday it was Florida Senator Mel Martinez turn to met with Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sototmayor. Martinez, the only Hispanic Republican in the Senate, briefly spoke with Judge Sotomayor, who hopes to be the first Latina on the Supreme Court. The two greeted each other in Spanish and observers say had a good conversation.
After their meeting an elated Senator addressed the press saying he was “very, very impressed” with Judge Sotomayor. He continued by saying “I am very, very impressed with her, not only her personal qualities, but her understanding of the role of the judiciary, and the role of a judge.”
“I think she’s a very, very bright person, very, very much someone who the Supreme Court will find will fit in very well,” said Martinez. The Florida Senator stopped short of endorsing her nomination, as reported by the Tallahassee Democrat.
Like most Republican Senators, Martinez said he would withhold final judgement on Sotomayor until the confirmation hearings, scheduled to begin July 13
He affirms what most believe, “I would expect that she would be confirmed with pretty good numbers,” said Martinez.
Senator Martinez commented on the now famous statements made by Sotomayor. According to the St. Petersburg Times:
When asked about Sotomayor’s 2001 statement that she hoped a Latina would make a wiser decision than a white male without the same experiences, Martinez said he understood her point.
“The richness of her experience informs who she is — it informs who I am,” he said. “I think the question really is, will she rule as a Latin woman, or will she rule as a judge based on precedence, based on the law, and obviously the facts before the court.
“Based on my conversation with her today I think she was using that as rhetoric, but I don’t think that is how she rationalizes in her opinions. So far, from the review of the opinions that I have heard of, this does not seem to be an element of how she rules.”
During the meeting Senator Martinez also presented Judge Sotomayor with a signed copy of his book for her mother, who lives in South Florida. Just like a good Senator, Martinez is always looking out for his constituents.