So much for the conservatives' desire to paint Sonia Sotomayor as a cold, lonely liberal. The Supreme Court nominee, who has been divorced for decades and never had any children, has been called a "bully" and portrayed as a lonely loser who co-opted her employees as faux family members. But Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) opened her confirmation hearing by asking Sotomayor to introduce the family who had accompanied her to the Hart Senate Building. Sotomayor smiled and leaned into the microphone. "If I introduced everybody who's family-like, we would be here all morning," she said warmly, to chuckles from around the room.
Leahy told her to introduce whoever she would like, and Sotomayor introduced her brother, her mother, her mother's husband (whom she smilingly called "my favorite"), a niece and a nephew, by name, then said that the rest of the row behind her was filled with "godchildren and dear friends."
Leahy remarked that at Sotomayor's previous confirmation hearings (this is her third appearance before the Judiciary Committee, because she has previously been confirmed to the district court and the appeals court), Senate marshals were surprised by the number of friends and family members who came to support her. And again today, her entourage helped the judge pull off a nice human start.
Photograph of Sotomayor and her mother by Mark Wilson/Getty Images.