WASHINGTON (CNN) – The National Rifle Association reinforced its opposition to the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor, warning senators Thursday their votes will be considered in the NRA's future candidate evaluations.
The NRA announced last week that it viewed Sotomayor as having a "hostile view" of gun rights under the Constitution.
Since the NRA's announcement last week, five Republicans have already pledged their votes for Sotomayor, including conservative Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and key member of the Judiciary Committee.
The nominee herself was on Capitol Hill, meeting with conservative senators. Seven Republicans have already announced they would vote against her, but that is not expected to slow what is predicted to be easy confirmation to the nation's highest court.
President Obama's first pick to the Supreme Court has attracted intense lobbying and outreach efforts from a range of advocacy groups. The NRA decision came as little surprise, with a statement by the group strongly questioning her commitment to the rule of law.
"We believe any individual who does not agree that the Second Amendment guarantees a fundamental right and who does not respect our God-given right of self-defense should not serve on any court, much less the highest court in the land," said Wayne LaPierre and Chris Cox, the NRA's top leaders, in a letter to the Senate. "Given the importance of this issue, the vote on Judge Sotomayor's confirmation will be considered in NRA's future candidate evaluation."
The issue of gun rights has become a timely issue, with senators Wednesday rejecting a bill that would allow a person with a proper permit to carry concealed weapons from state to state.
Sotomayor did receive strong support from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which called her "well qualified" to sit on the high court.
"Through several years of experience as a law firm partner representing business interests, Judge Sotomayor has spent time considering the litigation environment from our point of view," said Thomas J. Donohue, the business lobby's president. "With her unique experience as both a trial and appellate judge, Judge Sotomayor has seen first hand the tremendous burdens that our legal system places on businesses."
The Chamber's Litigation Center has long been active in fighting decisions by judges and courts it considers harmful to economic growth and small businesses. While generally having a conservative business philosophy, the group has endorsed every member of the Supreme Court over the past two decades, including liberal justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer.
Sotomayor had private meetings planned with conservative senators John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Richard Burr, R-N.C., and John Ensign, R-Nev. None of the three lawmaker has announced whether they would support her when the full Senate votes, scheduled for early next month.
Other courtesy calls with lawmakers may be scheduled in coming days, but the White House and Senate Democrats are quietly confident the 55-year-old federal appeals court judge will be confirmed.
The Judiciary Committee will vote Tuesday on whether to pass her nomination on to the full Senate.