Sotomayor contacted 3 days before Souter news broke

The White House first contacted Judge Sonia Sotomayor three days before news of a Supreme Court vacancy became public, according to a questionnaire President Obama's first high court nominee submitted Thursday afternoon.

In the 173-page questionnaire delivered to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sotomayor revealed she was first contacted by White House counsel Greg Craig on April 27, three days before Associate Justice David Souter's resignation leaked to the media and four days before he made a formal announcement.

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Sotomayor was first interviewed by a White House surrogate on May 14, then spoke with top White House officials by phone two days later. She interviewed three more times, including what the White House has described as an hour-long sit-down with Obama in the Oval Office on May 21. Three days later, she spoke with Vice President Biden.

Sotomayor was officially nominated by Obama on May 26.

Sotomayor said she has neither been asked about specific cases that may reach the court nor has she made any representations as to how she might rule as an associate justice if she is confirmed.

The White House took the opportunity to brag about the speed with which it compiled answers to the Judiciary Committee's questions. It took Sotomayor just nine days to file her answers, four days better than Chief Justice John Roberts and a full three weeks faster than Associate Justice Samuel Alito.

"With her record of 17 years on the bench, this historically fast completion of the exhaustive questions is no small feat that will hopefully lead to her swift consideration by the Senate and enable her to be a member of the Supreme Court by the time they begin selecting cases in September," Craig wrote in a blog post on the White House's website.

Sotomayor provided the Judiciary Committee with 49 interviews she has conducted, three letters to the editor she wrote while at Princeton University and several published writings, along with every judicial opinion she wrote on the bench.

The judge listed, in exhaustive detail, everything from her job history to her net worth, along with more in-depth information about her long tenure as a federal judge. Sotomayor has accumulated about $1.15 million in assets since her first position, as a summer clerk at the Equitable Life Assurance Society for three months in 1976.

Sotomayor recused herself from more than 140 cases during her 17 years on the federal bench, for reasons ranging from having prior relationships with attorneys on one side of a case to belonging to BJ's Wholesale Club, a discount grocery chain that came before her court as a defendant.

Sotomayor wrote the only potential conflicts of interest that could come before the court include issues involving a former client; an attorney with whom she taught at New York University Law School; Princeton University, her undergraduate alma mater; or appeals arising from her work on the Second Circuit.

The recipient of a number of awards and a current or former member of nearly three dozen bar associations, Sotomayor's questionnaire includes everything from conferences and symposiums she attended to top cases she was involved in litigating.

The list of events she attended includes an October 2001 speech at the University of California at Berkeley and a February 2005 speech at Duke Law School, both of which have generated controversy among some of her conservative opponents.