Even before her questioning begins, Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor is trying to dispel some of the Republican concerns about impartiality.
In her opening statement at her Senate confirmation hearing, the veteran appeals court judge told the Senate Judiciary Committee that the law is the driving force behind her rulings, not her personal or professional experiences.
In the weeks leading up to Monday's hearings, GOP senators have repeatedly cited Sotomayor's remark that a "wise Latina" woman with her life experiences might be better able to issue a ruling than a white man.
Sotomayor spoke Monday after several hours of opening statements by committee members and interruptions by several anti-abortion protesters who were quickly escorted from the hearing room.
During her remarks, Sotomayor thanked her mother for getting her to this point in her career. She said being raised by parents who came to New York from Puerto Rico made her life "uniquely American."
Sotomayor is expected to undergo tough questioning when the hearings resume Tuesday. If confirmed, she would become the first Hispanic justice.