Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said today that she believes Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor has a "real respect for precedent" on abortion.
Feinstein, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, spoke to reporters after meeting with Sotomayor late this afternoon. She said that the two discussed abortion in general terms, and that she plans to ask Sotomayor about the issue further during her confirmation hearing.
Pressed for details on the conversation, Feinstein added: "I think she is a woman who is well-steeped in the law and well-steeped in precedent. And I believe that she has a real respect for precedent, and that she was not just saying that. And if that is really true, then I would agree with her. And I believe it is."
The statement could help reassure advocates of abortion rights who say Sotomayor has a thin record on the issue, despite her time as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit and on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. And it could help galvanize criticism of her among those who oppose abortion rights.