Sessions threatens delay of Sotomayor hearings

The top Republican on the judiciary committee says missing documents need to be turned in before going ahead

By Alex Koppelman

Published June 19, 2009 4:05PM (EDT)

It's unlikely that Senate Republicans will be able to stop the confirmation of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. But they can still try to stall it, and Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., the Judiciary Committee's top Republican, is warning that might just happen.

Sessions told The Hill that the committee is missing some of Sotomayor's records, including dozens of her speeches as well as documents from her time as a member of the Puerto Rican Legal Education and Defense Fund and from her work in the Manhattan District Attorney's office and some internal court memoranda.

The senator says he's brought up his concerns with Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Pat Leahy, D-Vt. "I told him that I don’t see how we should go forward with the hearing if we’re missing important records and documents," Sessions said, according to the paper.

Leahy's said he wants to begin hearings on Sotomayor's nomination the week of July 13, and is hoping to have her confirmed by the time the Senate goes into recess, less than a month later. That's an ambitious schedule, and it may prove difficult, both in light of Sessions' remarks and the general Republican attitude: They're well aware there's almost no chance of Borking her, but at the same time they want to show activists, donors and voters on the right that they did something to oppose her.

Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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