Sotomayor says she will follow the law

Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor will follow the law and not let her background influence her legal decisionmaking, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyMaxine Waters to Sessions: 'Time to go back to the plantation' Franken has 'a lot of questions' for Sessions on Russia contacts Senate Dems demand Sessions testify after Papadopoulos plea deal MORE (D-Vt.) told reporters after meeting behind closed doors with her Tuesday.

During the meeting, Leahy said, he asked her about the 2001 statement at Berkeley, in which she said her experience as a Hispanic woman would help her reach better legal decisions than a white man.

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Leahy said Sotomayor told him that "ultimately and completely a judge has to follow the law." That was enough to satisfy Leahy.

Leahy said he will meet with Sen. Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsCurtis wins Chaffetz's former Utah House seat Overnight Cybersecurity: What we learned from Carter Page's House Intel testimony | House to mark up foreign intel reform law | FBI can't access Texas shooter's phone | Sessions to testify at hearing amid Russia scrutiny FBI can’t unlock Texas shooter’s phone MORE (Ala.), the committee’s ranking Republican, on Wednesday morning to discuss the timing of Senate confirmation proceedings.

When asked if Sotomayor could wait until September for a final confirmation vote, Leahy said: "I think it would be irresponsible to leave her hanging out that long."

Sessions has pushed back on a confirmation vote before the August recess, saying the committee has more than 3,600 cases to review, and that cannot be achieved thoroughly by the end of July.

Leahy said that while some Democrats have suggested a June hearing, he thinks that is too soon.

Leahy, however, said that he may be motivated to speed up the timing on hearings to give Sotomayor a chance to respond to "vicious attacks" from the "heads of the Republican Party."

Leahy said he is "glad" that GOP senators have refrained from attacking Sotomayor.