Published June 10, 2009
The remark quickly stirred criticism in the legal world, since Biden was making a pledge that a fair and objective justice would not necessarily be able to keep.
Biden made the remark at an assembly of eight law enforcement groups after he detailed Sotomayor's tough-on-crime record in the courtroom.
"There's a part of her record that seems to be, up to now, been flying under the radar a bit. And that's her tough stance on criminals and her unyielding commitment to finding justice for the victims of crime," Biden said.
He then repeatedly said, "She gets it," and sought to assure the law enforcement groups that she would be on their side.
"So you all are on the front lines. But as you do your job, know that Judge Sotomayor has your back as well," Biden said. "And throughout this nomination process, I know you'll have her back."
The comment touched on the hot-button issue of bias in the debate over Sotomayor, whose confirmation hearings could start as early as July if Democrats have their way.
John Wesley Hall, president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, said Biden didn't do himself any favors with that remark, since it's likely to generate more critical questions for Sotomayor during confirmation hearings.
"That (comment) means that she could probably care less about civil liberties and just do whatever law enforcement wants," Hall said.
Hall said Sotomayor probably doesn't sign on to Biden's remark, though.
"My take on it is that he's probably just trying to get law enforcement to support him by saying something just completely off the wall," he said.