Kyl grills Sotomayor

Senate GOP Whip Jon Kyl (Ariz.) is now questioning Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor, and is expected to challenge her strongly for the first time since ranking Judiciary Committee member Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) this morning.

Kyl is quizzing Sotomayor on the concept of judicial recusals in a past case that involved the Second Amendment, pressing the nominee to explain when she might feel compelled to remove herself from a case. The Arizona senator is also pressing Sotomayor to recall any example of a case when a lawyer asked her to "follow your heart" without citing any legal precedent.

Sotomayor wouldn't take the bait, responding that a judge's sole duty is to apply the law. Earlier, under gentle questioning from Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.), Sotomayor also expounded on the oft-stated quality of "empathy" that President Barack Obama cited in his nomination of her.

"Experiences help judges appreciate the experiences of other people," Sotomayor said. "I try very hard to make sure in my life that I introduce as much experiences of other people's lives that I can."

--J. Taylor Rushing