Updated: 3:32 p.m.Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor is set to meet with Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) on Tuesday, the first of several key meetings the White House has set up between the high court hopeful and Senate leaders this week.In addition to meeting with Leahy, President Barack Obamas choice to replace retiring Justice David Souter will also meet Tuesday with Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.). Sotomayor, if confirmed, would be the first Latina on the Supreme Court.Although conducted in private, these meetings have become an integral part of the confirmation process and can often play a pivotal role in how Senators will vote. Leahy, for instance, has said he decided to vote for Souter after meeting with him prior to his confirmation vote.The meetings will also provide Sotomayor an opportunity to quell GOP concerns over a 2001 speech she gave in which she said that being a Latina could make her better-suited to be a judge in discrimination cases than a white male.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.