Sonia SotomayorSonia SotomayorSupreme Court sharply divided over state aid for religious schools Justice Roberts neglects his own role in tilting American democracy Turley: Testifying for Republicans should not be a sin for academics MORE will remind observers of retiring Justice David Souter, said Sen. Pat Leahy (D-Vt.), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

"I believe that Judge Sotomayor will be in the mold of Justice Souter, who understands the real-world impact of the Court's decisions, rather than the mold of the conservative activists who second-guess Congress," Leahy said in a statement.

Leahy's comments may foreshadow the Democratic argument for Sotomayor. While Republicans may claim she is a liberal who will tilt the court to the right, Democrats will reply by equating her with the well-repsected justice she is replacing.

The Vermont Democrat urged his Republican colleagues to ignore the please of conservative activist groups, who Leahy said are "spoiling for a fight."

"Republican Senators up to now have generally shown more responsibility than that," Leahy said, "and the American people will want the Senate to carry out its constitutional duty with conscientiousness and civility."

Leahy's full statement is after the jump.

Comments Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.),
Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee,
On The President's Nomination Of Sonia Sotomayor
To The U.S. Supreme Court
May 26, 2009

While visiting with our troops in Afghanistan today, President Obama called to inform me that he will nominate Judge Sonia Sotomayor to be the next Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Judge Sotomayor has a long and distinguished career on the federal bench. She has been nominated by both Democratic and Republican presidents, and she was twice confirmed by the Senate with strong, bipartisan support. Her record is exemplary. Judge Sotomayor's nomination is an historic one, and when confirmed she will become the first Hispanic Justice, and just the third woman to sit on the nation's highest court. Having a Supreme Court that better reflects the diversity of America helps ensure that we keep faith with the words engraved in Vermont marble over the entrance of the Supreme Court: "Equal justice under law."

The Supreme Court is the final arbiter in the federal judiciary, with a fundamental role in our system of government and a fundamental impact on Americans