Sotomayor scrutinized in Congress

Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor appeared before a Senate panel on Monday, starting hearings which despite their political drama look likely to end with lawmakers endorsing her as the first Hispanic justice on the top U.S. court.

Sotomayor, 55, took her seat in a packed hearing room for a review by the Senate Judiciary Committee, where Republicans hope to spotlight what they say are President Barack Obama’s plans to use the Supreme Court to drive social change.

The Democrats who control the Senate said Sotomayor — the daughter of Puerto Rican parents who grew up in a New York housing project — embodies a “success story in which all Americans can take pride.”

“In truth, we do not have to speculate about what kind of a Justice she will be because we have seen the kind of judge she has been,” the committee’s Democratic chairman Patrick Leahy said in his opening statement.

“She is a judge in which all Americans can have confidence. She has been a judge for all Americans and will be a Justice for all Americans.”