WASHINGTON (BP)--Pressed for her views on one of the nation's most controversial subjects, Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor said Thursday that she understands the "seriousness" of the nationwide debate over the definition of marriage, although she didn't disclose where she stands.
Sotomayor was asked about "gay marriage" and an obscure 1972 Supreme Court case pertaining to that issue as the Senate Judiciary Committee concluded its final day of questioning, with each senator getting 10 minutes in a "third round" to probe Sotomayor. Although the panel's social conservatives had focused on abortion during the first two days of questioning, they increasingly turned to the issue of marriage during the final day and a half of the confirmation hearing.
Liberal groups are counting on Sotomayor to provide a Supreme Court vote for "gay marriage," but no one knows for sure what she believes. She has not ruled on the issue as a judge on the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals.
"If the Supreme Court in the next few years holds that there's a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, would that be making the law or would that be interpreting the law?" Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas asked, noting that Sotomayor previously had labeled as interpretations of the law several Supreme Court decisions that conservatives have heavily criticized.
Sotomayor began her response by saying if she answered it directly it would be viewed as pre-judging the case. But she continued, "I understand the seriousness of this question, and I understand the seriousness of same-sex marriage, but I also understand and know -- as I think all America knows -- that this issue is being hotly debated on every level of our three branches of government."
She said she has not pre-judged the issue and would not let her own personal views determine the outcome. Read More