White House, Senate Democrats lay groundwork for hearings

WASHINGTON (AP) - Preparations are under way for the Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor.

Democratic staff members on the Senate Judiciary Committee met today on Capitol Hill with White House officials to plot strategy.

Aides say the nominee could begin making personal "courtesy calls" to Senate leaders and members of the Judiciary Committee next week.

Already, there are competing campaigns by conservative and liberal groups. A Web ad by the conservative Judicial Confirmation Network says "America deserves better" than Sotomayor.

The ad asks, "Equal justice under law -- or under attack?"

But liberal groups are responding with their own campaign to paint Sotomayor as an experienced and fair judge with an understanding of how the court affects real people and their lives.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.