But during Tuesday's hearing, the Supreme Court nominee demonstrated a comprehensive understanding of the law and jurisprudence.
She did not apologize, but under questioning by Republican Sens. Jeff Sessions of Alabama and John Kyl of Arizona on Tuesday she conceded that her choice of words may have led to confusion and misinterpretation.
“I was using a rhetorical flourish that fell flat,” Judge Sotomayor told the Senate Judiciary Committee on the second day of her week-long confirmation hearings.
The admission came during a day-long hearing in which senators closely questioned the nominee seeking insight into her judicial philosophy, her ideology, her professional qualifications, and her 17-year-record as a federal trial judge and appeals court judge.
Through it all she maintained a calm and businesslike demeanor while demonstrating a comprehensive understanding of the law and Supreme Court jurisprudence. She was careful to say enough, yet not too much.
She defended her role on a three-judge panel that threw out a reverse discrimination lawsuit by white firefighters in New Haven, Conn. That decision was reversed by the Supreme Court two weeks ago.
She sidestepped questions about whether she believes the Second Amendment guarantees a fundamental right to private possession of weapons at the state and local level. And she declined to offer her personal view on whether the Fifth Amendment’s takings clause allows the government to condemn a private home and turn that same property over to a private developer in the name of economic development.