“My fear is that she has been unable to separate her personal belief system from that of the letter of the law,” Burr said in a prepared statement.
Sotomayor, who would be the first female Hispanic member on the court, has been widely criticized by Republicans for a speech in which she said “a wise Latina” might sometimes make better decisions than a white male.
Burr is a conservative Republican who nonetheless praised Sotomayor’s experience when she was first nominated. He faces re-election next year in a state with a growing population of Hispanic voters.
There are 70,565 registered Hispanic voters in the state, nearly double the numbers two years ago. The numbers are still small though, representing just 1 percent of registered voters.
Burr met with Sotomayor last week and said in his statement that she brings impressive academic credentials and a lengthy judicial record. But he said he worries about whether she will apply a strict interpretation of the Constitution.
“While she stated in her testimony that she would adhere to legal precedent, her judicial record suggests otherwise,” Burr said. “In several cases she has clearly ignored precedent or cited precedent that did not apply to the facts at hand, and I believe let her personal beliefs cloud her judgment.”
The Senate Judiciary Committee endorsed Sotomayor’s nomination Tuesday. It now goes to the full Senate. U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, a Democrat, previously said she would support Sotomayor.
- Barbara Barrett