Let’s look at this exchange as published in the Washington Post
GRAHAM: Now, during your time as an advocate, do you understand identity politics? What is identity politics?
SOTOMAYOR: Politics based simply on a person’s characteristics, generally referred to either race or ethnicity or gender, religion. It is politics based on . . .
GRAHAM: Do you embrace identity politics personally?
SOTOMAYOR: Personally, I don’t as a judge in any way embrace it with respect to judging. As a person, I do believe that certain groups have and should express their views on whatever social issues may be out there. But as I understand the word “identity politics,” it’s usually denigrated because it suggests that individuals are not considering what’s best for America.
. . .
GRAHAM: Do you believe that your speeches properly read embrace identity politics?
SOTOMAYOR: I think my speeches embrace the concept that I just described, which is, groups, you have interests that you should seek to promote, what you’re doing is important in helping the community develop, participate, participate in the process of your community, participate in the process of helping to change the conditions you live in.
I don’t describe it as identity policies, because — politics — because it’s not that I’m advocating the groups do something illegal.
GRAHAM: Well, Judge, to be honest with you, your record as a judge has not been radical by any means. It’s, to me, left of center. But your speeches are disturbing, particularly to — to conservatives. . . . Those speeches to me suggested gender and racial affiliations in a way that a lot of us wonder: Will you take that line of thinking to the Supreme Court in these cases of first precedent?
The Republicans have spent most of their time over the last four days trying to figure out what makes Judge Sotomayor tick. I think the answer is pretty simple: Yes, she is a woman and yes, she is Latina and in her private time, she may volunteer for groups that advocate those causes. But when she is a judge, she is not an advocate. And that’s why none of you could find anything objectionable in any of her many decisions. Isn’t that what you said you want from a judge? Isn’t that why you were all upset about empathy? Sonia Sotomayor has shown that she has empathy and that she rules according to the facts and the law. I think that is what you said you wanted.