There is no such thing as THE law. In spite of this Sotomayor is being grilled as whether she will be guided by the law or utilize a set of social values in her future decisions. The questioners don’t really care about her answers, but rather hope to establish the dichotomy in the mind of the public. It is a false dichotomy--the words of the Constitution or precedent cases do not speak for themselves. They must be selected from among various possible candidates, interpreted and extended often to situations that the Constitutional writers could not have imagined.
The implication of the dichotomy is that some of the justices are not guided by social values, but only by a superior cool logic. This is false. Justices such as Scalia and Thomas most certainly have a social agenda. Bush’s nominees were picked with a view to having abortion made unconstitutional, among other things. Have no doubt that the Court found constitutional language that supported their ruling in Roe vs Wade, and will find words to support its repeal if they decide to reverse.
Instead of pretending that justices should not be guided by a social ideology, the Senate should inquire deeply into the nominee's values.