From NBC's Ken Strickland
Sen. Jeff Sessions, ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, applauded the Supreme Court's New Haven firefighters ruling, while criticizing Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor's. She sided with the judges on the lower court whose ruling was overturned today.
"The Supreme Court found that Judge Sotomayor was wrong to allow the city to change its promotion exam after it was given, solely to favor a group because of race," Sessions said in a written statement.
He went on to say judges should rule on the law, the facts, and the Constitution, "and not play favorites. This case sharpens our focus on Judge Sotomayor's troubling speeches and writings, which indicate the opposite belief: that personal experiences and political views should influence a judge's decision."
Video: University of Maryland Law School Prof. Sherrilyn Ifill and author Cliff Sloan debate the Supreme Court's New Haven firefighters decision.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell added, "Not only did Judge Sotomayor misapply the law, but the perfunctory way in which she and her panel dismissed the firefighters' meritorious claims of unfair treatment is particularly troubling ... underscoring my concern that she may have allowed her personal or political agenda to cloud her judgment and affect her ruling."
Similar views were also expressed by other Judiciary Committee Republicans. Sen. Orrin Hatch said, "The Second Circuit should have recognized the serious and unique issues this case raised and given it the thorough treatment it deserved." And Sen. John Cornyn said, "[W]hile the Justices divided on the outcome, all nine Justices were critical of the trial court opinion that Judge Sotomayor endorsed."