May 28th, 2009
03:53 PM ET
5 years ago

Hatch: If no surprises, Sotomayor 'highly likely' to be confirmed

Sen. Orrin Hatch says Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor 'will probably be confirmed' barring any 'disqualifying matters.'
Sen. Orrin Hatch says Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor 'will probably be confirmed' barring any 'disqualifying matters.'

WASHINGTON (CNN) - It is part political reality - and, seemingly, part Republican strategy.

The longest-serving Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee tells CNN Radio that as things stand now, Sonia Sotomayor is headed for a Supreme Court confirmation.

"If there are no otherwise disqualifying matters here, it appears to me she will probably be confirmed," Senator Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said Thursday.

Hatch is acknowledging the Senate landscape. Democrats could have 60 votes in the chamber if Minnesota's Al Franken is seated, and they now hold a 12 to 7 majority on the Judiciary Committee.

But as he speaks to Sotomayor's strength, Hatch is also digging the first Republican battle line on her nomination: the schedule.

"If the Democrats don't overplay their hand and don't try to rush this too much, the process will go well, they'll be better off, she'll get confirmed," he said, again adding that is if no new concerns come to light.


(A report on the Republican battle line over Sotomayor after the jump)

The Utah senator and fellow committee Republicans Jon Kyl and John Cornyn, are pushing hard for a lengthened timeframe for debate. They say it is almost impossible to review Sotomayor's extensive record, debate her nomination and hold a Senate vote by August, as the White House hopes.

The opposition party usually fights for extensive time to try and find any hidden issues in a Supreme Court nominee's record. Hatch says senators need three months to consider Sotomayor, and that a vote should come after the Senate's August break, in September.

The White House wants confirmation before August, so that Sotomayor could set up her office and be ready for the Supreme Court's next term when it starts in October. A September confirmation vote would also complicate Democratic fights on health care and energy, which could then be at critical points.

But on the basic scheduling argument, Hatch insists a September Senate vote would still get Sotomayor on the bench in time for the new court session. The senator continued his strategic warning to Democrats.

"If they do it the right way," he said, "and there is no otherwise disqualifying feature to this, it is highly likely she is going to be confirmed as the ninth justice on the Supreme Court in time to sit on the court on the first Monday of October."

These are the strongest statements yet from any Republican about Sotomayor's chances of confirmation.

But they come with a political threat - a warning from Hatch that a vote before August would draw Republican fire.



Filed under: Orrin Hatch • Sonia Sotomayor • Supreme Court
soundoff (72 Responses)
  1. James M. Holmes

    Thanks Hatch for telling what we already know – Sotomayer will be confermed and the GOP can't stop it, but they do want to slow it down so they can OBSTRUCT some very big things coming during the beginning of the next session...

    This is all about trying to fire up the base (for money) and trying to OBSTRUCT EVERYTHING the American people voted for... The GOP say they love America, but they seem to hate most Americans and seem to have little respect for the voice of the American people!

    Thank GOD this party is irrelevant... and it was the American people that made sure of it democratically!

    May 28, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  2. Marinn Pepitone

    how about that dominion republic: My hertigate is 100% white. There are no minorites in my background. What about yours. She may be a citizen of this country like me but her quotes about the whites makes her a racist. Well, that's too bad. We are what we are and have to accept it. I am not fond of Mexicans or Puerto Ricans. If I owned a company whites and blacks would be my first choice. Besides that, you don't choose someone just to get the votes like Obama did you choose them because you think they are qualified for the job. Get real.

    May 28, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  3. Randolph Carter

    Marinn Pepitone, get used to it. This country is getting a little browner every day. It is our diversity that makes this country great. By the way, what tribe are you? Sioux? Navajo perhaps? Tuscarora? What's that? You're not in any tribe? I guess you're not a real American then. Go back to Europe where you belong. Have a nice day!

    May 28, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  4. Vickie

    @Allen
    Ms. Sotomayor was born in the Bronx, NY. The New York that's one of the states in the United States of America! That makes her a citizen.
    Also, she's of Puerto Rican descent, not Mexican. And in case you didn't realize this either, they are two different places.

    @Marinn Pepitone
    Nasty comments about whites? Can you give me something besides a sentence from a speech 8 years ago, which, by the way seems to have been taken out of context?

    May 28, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  5. Peter (CA)

    Sotomayor has not made remarks that were "racist". Those are the delusions of the Grand Wizard and Newt.
    She is not perfect (who is?) and may hold some surprises for those who now support her but there is nothing in her background that would preclude her from being confirmed.

    phoenix86...can you possibly put up a post that is at least somewhat useful and at least half true?

    May 28, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  6. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    It's hilarious watching republicans try and speak without sounding like morons. I can't wait until 11/4/10. Bye Bye GOP.

    May 28, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  7. Charles Atlanta

    Hehe.. Orrin, have you got approval from Limbauth to say that?

    May 28, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  8. Carl from MI

    Maybe Obama should have chosen Harriet Miers like Dubya did!!! Where was the Republican outrage then?

    Both Lott and Frist were little more than silent on the subject, and there was very little either of those two were silent on back then (except their own scandals!!).

    Republicans were so silent when she was nominated you could have heard a church mouse fart!!! hahaha

    May 28, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  9. jj12345

    Carl from MI May 28th, 2009 4:13 pm ET

    I can't wait to see how many MORE Republicans get voted out of office next election exactly because of this kind of irrelevent partisan politics!! Someone please start the countdown…. hahaha
    ______________________________________________________
    Yes because the dems never play "irrelevent partisian politics"

    May 28, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  10. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    @ jj12345

    Well under the dictatorship of George W. Bush, a confirmation hearing was the only chance of democrats getingt to do anything useful.

    May 28, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  11. mike,texas

    But the new republican party of NO must say No.

    May 28, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  12. sbp

    Allen:

    Good Lord, you are a dope. I presume you also believe Obama is doing this because he too is an illegal alien (and a Commie, Satan worshipper, yada yada yada).

    May 28, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  13. Kevin Denver Colorado

    GT: al franken ? i thought he was on the jack ass t v show…… stuart smalley … a senator ? …. lord help us …..

    Try Harvard degree in political science.... loser

    May 28, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  14. Anne Zani

    It looks like the party of NO (Republicans) will leave "Pelosi" alone for a while now that they have Sonia Sotomayor they are trying to knock down. I am 74 yrs. old and was a Republican most of my life but I am now an Independent leaning towards the Democrats.

    In these top positions the women can not be just as good as the in the Congress or Senate, they need to be 10 times better, more educated, more common sense and all around smarter.
    I think "Sonia Sotomayor" is a threat to their manhood, I say get over it you will be smarter in the end.

    May 28, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  15. jj12345

    Dutch/Bad Newz, VA May 28th, 2009 5:01 pm ET

    @ jj12345

    Well under the dictatorship of George W. Bush, a confirmation hearing was the only chance of democrats getingt to do anything useful.
    ___________________________________________________
    So then with your wisdom and the majority in congress and a dem in the white house, the republicians will be doing the same thing.

    May 28, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  16. Steve (the real one)

    Melissa May 28th, 2009 4:35 pm ET
    Good. But the Republicans need to shut their bloody mouths and stop behaving like whiny children. They need to do their jobs, not use attack politics
    --------------------
    Tell that to you leftist, socialist buddies!

    May 28, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  17. Carl from MI

    Hey JJ... not like the Republicans do!! They are the masters of irrelevent partisan politics!! Enter Karl Rove.... Enter Rush... Enter Hannity... Enter Bill-O... Enter Ann...

    It's irrelevent when it's not about the facts any more... and Republicans never let the facts get in the way of elections anymore!!

    See Glenn Beck's visit on The View!! He's a FIX-ed News "Commentator"... he doesn't have to fact check or so he stated.

    Confirming Sotomayor isn't about the facts with the Republicans, and you darn well know it. Like I said, Obama should have nominated Harriet Miers... I know you would have approved of her!!

    May 28, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  18. phoenix86

    Hmm, seems us Republicans forgot that we were very angry when they took the Lord Rush's quote out of context and used it against us(I hope President Obama fails), and yet here we are doing the exact same thing that the Democrats did.

    So in turn, Republicans are not better than the Democrats. YAY!

    May 28, 2009 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  19. Teleprompter of the U.S.A.

    Hatch you're a joke if you don't oppse her at all.

    The Democrats opposed everything Bush did. You should return the favor to those crooked backstabbing people.

    May 28, 2009 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  20. phoenix86

    Hmm, seems us Republicans forgot that we were very angry when they took the Lord Rush's quote out of context and used it against us(I hope President Obama fails), and yet here we are doing the exact same thing that the Democrats did.

    So in turn, Republicans act no better than the Democrats do. YAY!

    May 28, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  21. Kelby In Houston, TX

    I really hope that Judge Sotomayor does not read the ignorant comments some of you are posting. And by 'ignorant', I mean willfully ignoring facts and not even attempting to get the facts.
    Some of you guys are just plain mean

    May 28, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  22. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    @ Carl from MI

    My thoughts exactly!

    May 28, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
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