GOP letter asks Sotomayor to fill in the blanks

GOP senators on the Judiciary Committee on Wednesday tried a new strategy in the battle over Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor, writing directly to ask her to “revisit” her “incomplete” candidate questionnaire.

The letter, addressed to Sotomayor through the White House, says the 173-page questionnaire the nominee submitted last week has too many “apparent omissions.”

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“We would respectfully ask that you revisit the questionnaire and provide another supplement as soon as possible,” the senators wrote. “If you believe that your questionnaire is fully responsive, we would appreciate an explanation to that effect.”

The letter was signed by ranking member Jeff Sessions (Ala.), Chuck Grassley (Iowa), John Cornyn (Texas), Jon Kyl (Ariz.), Tom Coburn (Okla.), Orrin Hatch (Utah) and Lindsey Graham (S.C.)

Specifically, the senators identify incomplete information on 10 questions about Sotomayor’s background, including cases she handled and speeches or lectures she delivered.

The letter reflects a ratcheting-up of the GOP’s scrutiny over Sotomayor, just hours after Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) used a floor speech to complain about the omissions.

“We are concerned about the fact that you have failed to provide a draft, video or transcript for more than half of your speeches, remarks, lectures, etc.,” the letter reads. “Please advise us of the process you undertook to search for these speeches, and for those that you are unable to provide to the committee, please provide a more thorough explanation of the content of each speech.”

McConnell and Sessions both said the omissions are proof that the White House is attempting to rush Sotomayor’s confirmation through the Senate. McConnell called it “a rush to judgment in order to meet an arbitrary deadline,” while Sessions said Republicans are frustrated that their fairness to Sotomayor has not been returned.

Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) dismissed the attacks Wednesday, saying that he is following the same timeline that the Senate used to confirm Chief Justice John Roberts.

About Sotomayor’s questionnaire, Leahy noted that thousands of pages of background material on Roberts were not delivered by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library until just before his confirmation hearings.

“We’re on the same schedule,” he said. “If it was good enough for him, why shouldn’t it be good enough for her? And thousands of pages about him didn’t come in until a few days before the hearing.”

This story was updated at 5 p.m.