Franken has a few questions left for Sotomayor

Sen. Al Franken
Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., the newest member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, awaits the start of the committee's confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor, Monday, July 13, 2009, on Capitol Hill in Washington.
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

What's left to ask when 18 other senators have questioned Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor before you?

"I've been following every other member of the committee's questions, and a couple of mine have been covered, so I've been preparing quite a number of them in certain areas," said Minnesota Sen. Al Franken, the most junior member of the committee -- and of the U.S. Senate. He was sworn in last week after lengthy legal battle.

Franken will be the last to question Sotomayor as her confirmation hearing resumes this morning in the Senate Judiciary committee. He expects to get his time questioning the judge sometime after lunch today.

Among the issues he plans to cover, Franken said he wants to know more about Sotomayor's views on net neutrality.

"I just want to make sure the Internet remains the Internet and that Internet service providers aren't being, in a sense, a gateway to the Internet and slowing down certain content and speeding up certain content," Franken said on MPR's Morning Edition. "I think the Internet really has become the town hall and I think it's the kind of speech the framers would be very careful about allowing to be free-flowing."

On Tuesday, Sotomayor was questioned about her 2001 remark about hoping that "a wise Latina" would more often than not reach a better decision than a white male who lacked the same experience.

Franken said he understood what she was saying with the comment.

"She was talking about certain kinds of cases and about cases involving discrimination and civil rights," Franken said. "She wasn't talking in general."

She also told the Senate Judiciary Committee that she believes it's important that judges keep "an open mind" about cases before them.

On Day 2 of her confirmation hearings, the native of South Bronx got to answer senators' questions for the first time publicly about what style she would bring to the nation's highest court.

Sotomayor said she believes it is important not to go into the case - or on the bench - with a prejudgment about the issues in play. She also said that when the time comes to make a decision, it should be "limited to what the law says on the facts before the judge."

Added Franken: "She talks about the benefit of diversity in the courts, but she's not saying that any one judge is going to be better than any other judge."

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