Sotomayor to make her Capitol Hill debut

WASHINGTON (AP) – WASHINGTON (AP) - Appeals court judge Sonia Sotomayor is heading to Capitol Hill for a series of informal chats with top senators who will play a key role in considering her nomination to the Supreme Court.

Sotomayor's schedule Tuesday is packed with half-hour meetings known as "courtesy calls." The sessions help set a courtly tone of the debate over her nomination and provide Sotomayor with some face-time with senators.

Republicans in the Senate have already begun to question remarks Sotomayor has made in the past about how her life experiences influence her judicial decisions. In turn, Senate Democrats have defended her as a fair and unbiased judge.

Both sides say they are eager to talk to her privately and to question her in the public hearings to come.