Sotomayor sidesteps controversial questions
(AP) - Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor declinedrepeatedly at Senate confirmation hearings Wednesday to discloseher views on abortion rights and said President Barack Obama neverasked her before he chose her for the bench.
"I can't answer ... because I can't look at it in theabstract," she told Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., as he sought to drawher out with questions about hypothetical cases, including one inwhich a woman wanted to abort a 38-week fetus with a birth defect.
Even if she knew more about the specifics of a case, she added,"I probably couldn't opine because I'm sure that situation mightwell arise before the court."
Coburn opposes abortion rights, but Sotomayor was no moreforthcoming when questioned by a lawmaker on the other side of theissue.
"Would you think that Roe might be a super-duper precedent?"probed Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Pa, pointing out that the landmark1973 case that established the right to an abortion has been upheldin 38 cases. She did not answer directly, saying instead it was asettled precedent, a phrase she first used on Tuesday.
Sotomayor, tapped as the first Hispanic on the Supreme Court,also sidestepped when asked whether the Second Amendment right tobear arms applies to state laws as well as the federal government. And she avoided being drawn into a discussion about Congress'authority under the Constitution to regulate financial markets.