SCOTUS nominee to meet and greet at Capitol

Judge Sonia Sotomayor is expected to make her case in person this week as she visits Capitol Hill for the first time as President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee.

And despite harsh criticisms from prominent conservative figures, the federal court of appeals judge can expect a fair hearing from the people who will actually vote on her confirmation: sitting U.S. senators.

A review of the morning talk shows Sunday evidence that while Republicans sitting on the Senate Judiciary Committee have a healthy dose of skepticism about Sotomayor’s legal record, none were willing to vote against her or commit to a filibuster yet. And almost all praised her tough upbringing as a child of a single mother growing up in a South Bronx public housing project.

Perhaps most importantly, none of the Republicans repeated the most explosive charge coming from party figures such as former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) and conservative talk radio show host Rush Limbaugh — that Sotomayor is a racist. Most dispelled that argument outright or declined to comment on it. 

In fact, Sotomayor found high praise in an unusual place: Sen. Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsDirector of federal prisons resigns after clashes with Kushner, Sessions: report Black Caucus raises concerns over Amazon facial recognition software Immigrant women, children abused by gangs need our protection MORE (R-Ala.). On "Meet The Press" Sunday, the Senate Judiciary Committee’s ranking member described her as having an “almost ideal” mix of experience for a Supreme Court nominee, with her resume boasting stints as a prosecutor, private litigator and a trial judge before sitting on the powerful U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit.

On her tour of Capitol Hill, Sotomayor can begin trying to soothe worries over her statement that resulted in the racism charges. The judge gave a 2001 speech in which she suggested that a Latina woman would make a better judge than a white man.

That has angered Republicans the most, but those who appeared on the Sunday talk shows all seemed willing to listen to the New York judge’s explanations behind the speech.

Scheduled on Sotomayor’s itinerary this week are reportedly visits with Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidMcConnell not yet ready to change rules for Trump nominees The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by CVS Health — Trump’s love-hate relationship with the Senate Trump to press GOP on changing Senate rules MORE (D-Nev.) and possibly his counterpart, Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell says he backs Mueller probe after classified briefing Overnight Finance: Trump signs Dodd-Frank rollback | Snubs key Dems at ceremony | Senate confirms banking regulator | Lawmakers lash out on Trump auto tariffs Senate Dems’ campaign chief ‘welcomes’ midterm support from Clintons MORE (R-Ky.). Also included are stops with Sessions and Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyMcConnell sets 'minibus' strategy for 2019 spending Dem senator mocks Pruitt over alleged security threats: 'Nobody even knows who you are' Pruitt tells senators: ‘I share your concerns about some of these decisions’ MORE (D-Vt.), the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman.

What is the most useful for the nomination process from Sotomayor’s extensive record is not her 17 years on the bench but that she has gone through Senate confirmation twice.

She is also no stranger to judicial politics. Her nomination to the court of appeals was held up by Republicans in 1998 over worries that she would make it to the Supreme Court. Now, more than 10 years later, Sotomayor will begin to make that case in person this week.