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Democrats, GOP follow party lines on Supreme Court nominee
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Local Democrats and leaders of the Latino community were more than thrilled with President Barack Obama’s nomination of appellate judge Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Yet, others, including a representative of Hall County’s Republican Party, said they were worried the New York judge would "rule from the bench."

Local immigration attorney Arturo Corso called Sotomayor a brilliant jurist and a moderate. Corso said he thought even Republicans would find Sotomayor an excellent choice for service on the nation’s highest court.

But the chairman of Hall County’s Republican Party Jim Pilgrim said he felt that the pick was a "far left" choice. Pilgrim said he worried that Sotomayor would try to use the position on the court to make laws.

"She has been quoted saying that the courts ... make policy, which is not what the court’s are supposed to do. They are supposed to interpret the Constitution and not make policy," Pilgrim said.

Hall County District Attorney Lee Darragh also said that he was concerned about some reported statements of Sotomayor’s but he would save his judgment until the Senate confirmation hearings were under way.

"My hope is she would rule in a way that interprets the law and does not seek to make the law or determine policy," Darragh said. "Those things are for the people through their elected representatives."

Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss also said he believed a nominee "must not engage in legislating from the bench, but must interpret the laws as they’ve been passed."

But the first nomination of a Latino woman to the nation’s highest court filled local Democrats and representatives of local Latinos with hope.

Before Obama announced his choice, local attorney and Democrat Joe Diaz said he and his wife both said they hoped the nominee would be Latino, a woman and someone young enough to serve a long term.

"I’m absolutely ecstatic that he (Obama) did what he did," said Diaz. "It’s nice to have somebody besides a really old white guy."

Jerry Gonzalez, the executive director of the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials, commended Obama on his choice of Sotomayor.

Gonzalez said he hoped Chambliss and Sen. Johnny Isakson would look at Sotomayor’s credentials and quickly move toward confirming her spot on the high court bench. Chambliss has not closed the door on a vote in favor of Sotomayor, and has said he looks forward to a "dignified and thorough confirmation process."

"She carries tremendous experience and has been vetted before and therefore should be confirmed," Gonzalez said. "To add to that, her life story is the American dream realized, and many Americans, regardless of their backgrounds would associate with her life experiences."

With Hall County’s growth, Corso said he believed there would soon be more judges sitting on the benches in Hall County’s courts. Sotomayor’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court fueled Corso’s hope that one of those judges will be Latino.

"There’s a huge Hispanic community here and in Northeast Georgia and the bench should reflect that," Corso said.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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