Obama Picks Sotomayor for Supreme Court Slot
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Sotomayor said it seemed that the appeals panel was ignoring legislative history and earlier case law "in an understandable desire to provide the relatives and estate representatives ... a more generous recovery."
She said it was clear that Congress intended the Death on the High Seas Act to apply to any deaths that happened beyond three nautical miles from the U.S. coast and that those who drafted the law wanted to "provide a remedy, not the most generous remedy."
Her rulings and comments during oral arguments also have reflected a law-and-order interest.
In 2000, she warned a lawyer who appealed the 30-year prison sentence given to a police officer who sodomized a defendant that the appeals court might suggest the sentence should be increased because of the brutality of the crime.
In 2007, she wrote an appeals opinion finding it was constitutional for state troopers to lure suspects away from two vehicles while they searched the cars for cocaine.
"There was ample probable cause to support these searches, and a disinterested magistrate judge assuredly would have issued a warrant had one been sought," she wrote.
In another case, she gave an asylum seeker a second chance after his claim was rejected because he failed to appear at a hearing because his attorney was upstairs in possession of the document he needed to get into the building.
Sotomayor describes herself as "extraordinarily intense and very fun-loving."
At a recent program honoring the creator of a documentary showing children who have thrived even in threatening environments, Sotomayor, her round face beaming, seemed to be enjoying the attention she was receiving as her nomination to the Supreme Court seemed likely.
In brief remarks, Sotomayor described the documentary as fabulous.
"We should applaud more frequently those who transform a lost life," Sotomayor said.
As Sotomayor saw it, she was not so far from her humble childhood that she was not emotionally touched when she signed her first judgment of conviction after becoming a judge.
"That emotion will never leave me — humility," she said. "A deep, deep sense of humility. And a deep, deep sense of there but for the grace of God could I have gone and many that I have loved."
Associated Press Writer Sharon Theimer in Washington contributed to this story.