From NBC's Pete Williams, Ken Strickland, and Mark Murray
Well, we're off... Not surprisingly, conservative groups have issued tough statements on Sonia Sotomayor. Said Wendy Long of the conservative Judicial Confirmation Network: "Judge Sotomayor is a liberal judicial activist of the first order who thinks her own personal political agenda is more important that the law as written. She thinks that judges should dictate policy, and that one's sex, race, and ethnicity ought to affect the decisions one renders from the bench."
Meanwhile, GOP senators aren't as aggressive, but they raise a common theme: that they'll scrutinize Sotomayor's record. Said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell: "Senate Republicans will treat Judge Sotomayor fairly. But we will thoroughly examine her record to ensure she understands that the role of a jurist in our democracy is to apply the law even-handedly, despite their own feelings or personal or political preferences. Our Democratic colleagues have often remarked that the Senate is not a 'rubber stamp.' Accordingly, we trust they will ensure there is adequate time to prepare for this nomination, and a full and fair opportunity to question the nominee and debate her qualifications."
Added Senate Judiciary Committee member John Cornyn: "Now that President Obama has nominated Judge Sonia Sotomayor to replace Justice Souter on the United States Supreme Court, it is time for the Senate to perform its Constitutional duty of advice and consent. Because Judge Sotomayor would serve for life if she is confirmed, it is essential that the Senate conducts this process thoroughly and the President has assured me that we will have ample time to give Ms. Sotomayor's record a full and fair review."
And here's Lamar Alexander: "It is the Senate's responsibility to give the president's Supreme Court nominee both respectful and rigorous scrutiny. The nominee should neither be pre-confirmed nor pre-judged."