President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor is visiting Senate leaders informally today, including Senator Chuck Grassley. The Iowa Republican is on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which will hold confirmation hearings on Sotomayor. Grassley says he’s not sure just when he’ll meet with the woman who could become the first Hispanic justice on the nation’s highest court.
"Just as I was walking into the capitol building to go to this studio, there was a press camera outside," Grassley says. He was asked if he was going to a meeting with Judge Sotomayor and he replied, "No, but I will be…but I don’t know when it’s scheduled."
Grassley says some members of congress use the opportunity in these "courtesy calls" to speak very in-depth with nominees on judicial issues and their legal philosophies.
"For me, I don’t get very much in the weeds on that until you get to the hearing," Grassley says. "I will have a meeting with her where I just basically give her an opportunity to give me some background about her, how she approaches the law, things of that nature." Grassley says he’ll just sit down with Sotomayor and chat with no hard-ball questions.
"I have done it different ways, but I believe in regard to her, I’m going to approach it just as I stated," Grassley says. "Nothing’s on the record when they’re in your office and it’s pretty much get acquainted, I think is the best way to say it."
When Sotomayor was nominated to a federal appeals court in 1998, Democrat Iowa Senator Tom Harkin voted "yes" on her confirmation, while Grassley voted "no."