Schumer: Use of background OK in Sotomayor's decision

Judge Sonia Sotomayor's Senate guide through her confirmation hearings said Thursday evening that her heritage should very much be part of her decision-making process as a judge.

"Rule of law has to come first, obviously," Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) told National Public Radio (NPR) in an interview. "No matter what your personal background, if you're a judge, your job is to apply the rule of law."

But Schumer said that Sotomayor's background, namely her Hispanic heritage, should be part of her judicial arsenal, as Sotomayor herself had seemed to claim in the past.

"Obviously, within that context, our backgrounds influence us. You can't avoid it if you're a human being," he explained. "I don't think any American wants nine people on the Supreme Court, all of whom have ice water in their veins."

Sotomayor had come under fire from some conservative Republicans who consider the role of heritage and background in Sotomayor's decision-making "racist."

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