WASHINGTON (CNN) - A key Republican senator announced Wednesday he plans to vote for Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor, adding further momentum to an easy confirmation for President Obama's first high court pick.
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham's decision bucks the views of most of his conservative GOP colleagues. Republican Sens. Jon Kyl of Arizona and Thad Cochran of Mississippi preceded Graham on the Senate floor to oppose the 55-year-old federal appeals court judge.
Graham called Sotomayor "extremely well-qualified" with an extensive legal and judicial record, but criticized some of her views expressed on and of the bench. He lamented "the politicization of the judiciary" that he said has hurt public respect for the courts and the legislature itself. Three other moderate Republicans have previously announced they would vote to confirm Sotomayor.
The Senate Judiciary Committee will vote next Tuesday whether to confirm her, followed days later by a full Senate vote. Confirmation is expected, and GOP leaders have said they would not filibuster the nominee.