NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor didn't answer questions about Neil Gorsuch's nomination to the court during a speech in New York City on Thursday, although she did refer obliquely to him when she noted that "the current nominee is 49 years old" and could serve 30 years or more.
Republican President Donald Trump nominated Gorsuch on Tuesday to fill Justice Antonin Scalia's seat. Some Democrats have vowed to block the appointment as Senate Republicans did with former President Barack Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland last year.
Sotomayor, an Obama appointee, answered only pre-approved questions from the audience at St. Francis College in Brooklyn. The talk was moderated by her former clerk Sparkle Sooknanan, who graduated from the private Roman Catholic school in 2002.
There were no questions about legal controversies raised in the first days of the Trump administration, such as the travel ban on people from seven Muslim-majority countries.
Sotomayor answered a question about barriers faced by women by recalling a time when she was a federal district judge in New York and a marshal said, "Honey, park your car over there."
"You know he never called a male judge 'honey,'" Sotomayor said. She said she took the marshal aside and said, "Why don't we stick to 'judge.'"
Sotomayor, the third woman and the first Latina to serve on the nation's highest court, said the court should ideally be more diverse not just in terms of gender and ethnicity but by measures such as educational background and professional experience.
"Look, everyone is an Ivy Leaguer," she said. "Is that a bad thing? I don't think that's a bad thing, but it's not a good thing either."
Gorsuch, a graduate of Columbia and Harvard Law School, would not change the court's all-Ivy composition.