July 24th, 2009
11:42 AM ET
5 years ago

Hatch to vote against Sotomayor

Sen. Orrin Hatch announced Friday that he opposes Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation to the Supreme Court.
Sen. Orrin Hatch announced Friday that he opposes Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation to the Supreme Court.

(CNN) - Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch said Friday he will vote against Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation to the Supreme Court, the first time the Utah Republican has voted against a high court nominee in his three decades as a member of Senate Judiciary Committee.

"After thoroughly reviewing Judge Sotomayor's record and being able to hear her testimony and responses during the hearing process, I reluctantly, and with a heavy heart, have found that I cannot support her nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court," Hatch said in a statement. "In truth, I wish President Obama had chosen a Hispanic nominee that all Senators could support. I believe it would have done a great deal for our great country."

Hatch's announcement came shortly after fellow Senate Judiciary Committee Republican John Cornyn also announced he would not support Sotomayor. So far South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham is the only Republican on the panel who has said he will vote for Obama's Supreme Court pick.

Sotomayor will become the first of 11 Supreme Court nominees Hatch will vote against.

Full statement after the jump:

"I entered into the confirmation process of Judge Sotomayor with the strong desire to vote in favor of her nomination. Her credentials and experience are very impressive and her personal demeanor is pleasantly cordial and friendly. I found that the great respect I have for Judge Sotomayor's heritage and history added even more to my desire to carefully review her record and opinions in hopes of finding them truly grounded in the rule of law and acceptable to earn the support and trust of the American people and myself.

"Arriving at a final decision was particularly difficult because I like and highly respect Judge Sotomayor and, in general, give a great deal of deference to any President's nominee. The prospect of a woman of Puerto Rican heritage serving on the Supreme Court brought great excitement to me and says a lot about America.

"However, after thoroughly reviewing Judge Sotomayor's record and being able to hear her testimony and responses during the hearing process, I reluctantly, and with a heavy heart, have found that I cannot support her nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. In truth, I wish President Obama had chosen a Hispanic nominee that all Senators could support. I believe it would have done a great deal for our great country. Although Judge Sotomayor has a compelling life story and dedication to public service, her statements and record were too much at odds with the principles about the judiciary in which I deeply believe.

"As I said during the hearing, some of Judge Sotomayor's critics have been intemperate and unfair. No nominee deserves that kind of treatment. I was grateful her confirmation hearing was both dignified and thorough, as they all should be. I was particularly pleased that Judge Sotomayor felt her hearing was as gracious and fair as she could have asked for.

"During my analysis, I focused on her record and applied standards and principles that define the kind of judge all Americans need. Qualifications for judicial service include not only legal experience but, more importantly, a nominee's approach to judging. This makes Judge Sotomayor's judicial philosophy more important than her stellar resume. I thoroughly examined her record with the more exacting focus appropriate for a Supreme Court nomination. This included reading and studying Judge Sotomayor's speeches, articles, and cases; meeting with and hearing from legal experts and advocates from different perspectives; and actively participating in the confirmation hearing.

"The duty of confirmation entrusted to all Senators requires we determine whether Judge Sotomayor has the legal experience and, more importantly, the judicial philosophy that properly equips her for service on the Supreme Court. I have done my best to leave politics aside and stay true to this standard during all twelve Supreme Court confirmations I have participated in. It saddens me to realize that after reviewing her record, I have reluctantly concluded that I cannot vote in favor of her confirmation. However, I wish her well in her future endeavors and believe she is a wonderful and talented American with much to offer this great country."

– CNN's Bill Mears contributed to this report


Filed under: Orrin Hatch • Sonia Sotomayor • Supreme Court
soundoff (94 Responses)
  1. Jay

    Once again, this is surprising in what way!!!!

    July 24, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  2. Hoping for an intelligent female GOP candidate

    'Heavy heart' my butt! Again, no surprises here.

    July 24, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  3. jim

    politics aside? sure......

    July 24, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  4. John Black Hills/SD

    Republicans are so childlike in their political persona's. The GOP has nothing to complain about so they fabricate reasons to act up with an immaturity that doesn't match the gray in their hair.

    July 24, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  5. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    For three decades he's never voted against a SCOTUS nominee, but all of a sudden he's going to? This is bigger than Judge Sotomayor. This is a unified effort(with the exception of those who are voting for her) by the republicans to derail anything the President does. The GOP should be ashamed of themselves, pack their bags and ship out of D.C.

    NEWSFLASH GOP: There will be no incumbents in 2010 or 2012

    July 24, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  6. elaine

    It figures that a Republican will vote against her nomination. Why, because she does not fit the mold or the typical candidate? Yes, he said that he wished the Prez could have picked a Hispanic that all Senators could support, right., uhmmm.

    July 24, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  7. KirksNoseHair

    Yawn.....republican senator votes against Democratic president's pick for the Supreme court. Wow, there's a big huge massive surprise if I've ever seen one......

    July 24, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  8. Working Class American

    I hope the majority of voters find that, when Senator Hatch is up for re-election, they cannot support his re-election to the US Senate.

    July 24, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  9. S Callahan

    Life is funny how it works......
    It's probably best there are those who oppose, though personally I think she is more than qualified. One has to question if there is an agenda at the higher level..smoothly making it's case (or dent) along the way. Yesterday's event with the President making words in a 'local' level incident seem very concerning and not soley as a race issue...from my view it's .too much meddling in 'all' levels of government. My concern...where is the boundary ? Fourtunately, our Creator is set to return soon and this craziness will come to end with the ultimate leader.

    July 24, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  10. C. McCartney

    Of course he would vote against Sotomayer. He is from the state of Utah where voting for anyone who is not staunchly Republican is tantamount to suicide.

    July 24, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  11. Nunya

    Nothing said about what he found in his reviewing that led him to this conclusion...

    July 24, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  12. carlos only smarter

    just take a look at those two, hatch and cornyn......white, white haired, texas, utah.....I think that will suffice

    My fellow latinos make note, we will take care at election time......

    July 24, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  13. Tom in CA

    Losing an election has its consequences! Suck it up – members of the Grand Obstructionism Party.

    July 24, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  14. Troy from NJ

    He is so full of it! Judge Sotomayor did nothing in that hearing that would suggest she is not qualified to be on the Court. What kind of Hispanic did he want Pres. Obama to pick? I wish George H B would have picked a different black person to be on the Court and his son picked different white people to be on the Court. What a silly statement for him to make!

    This is why we have no health care plan. These guys would rather play dumb games than take care of what they was sent to Washington to do.

    July 24, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  15. Jim in San Jose 2

    Surprise surprise... This old geezer wouldn't know impartial if it slapped him on the face. Time to retire. Mr. Hatch. Racist politics have no place in our government.

    July 24, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  16. Sniffit

    Three words regarding Hatch voting no: National Rifle Association. And in other equally astonishing and suprising news, bears poop in the woods.

    Next.

    July 24, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  17. John

    At least we know Orrin Hatch would be a terrible Supreme Court judge. He has concluded that he cannot vote in favor of confirmation, but provides no specific position, ruling, statement, or result to support his contention. A judge needs to present concrete, substantive arguments to support a decision. Obviously Hatch doesn't buy into this philosophy.

    July 24, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  18. Frozone

    Hatch confirmed Sotomayor when Bush put her on the federal bench 20 years ago, but won't vote for her now. GOP hypocrisy at its finest.

    July 24, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  19. Larry

    Is there such a thing as a lame duck party?

    Republicans can vote whatever they want. Their votes don't matter!

    I hope you made whatever political statement you were trying to make Orin.

    July 24, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  20. Babs

    And what was your reason for not being able to confirm her??? " Her statements and record were too much at odds with the principles about judiciary in which I deeply believe."
    And what might those be your Gracious Sir REPUBLICAN Sen. Orrin Hatch?
    Again, for the party, not for the people. What a hypocrite.
    "I wish that President Obama had chosen a Hispanic nominee that all Senators could support."
    Well, Senator Orrin Hatch, he did. Her name is Sonia Sotomayor.

    July 24, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  21. meezermom

    Of course Hatch will vote no. As a "devout" Mormon, in his good conscience how could he vote for one of the "dark people" and a woman? Read the Book of Mormon.....

    July 24, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  22. Michael M, Phoenix AZ

    Are Hatch and Cornyn attached at the brain? Orrin needs to retire.

    July 24, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  23. mb

    Racially motivated?

    July 24, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  24. Ed Tallahassee

    So you could back Judge Thomas, but not Judge Sotomayor... but it's not Polical. Yeah Right.

    July 24, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  25. BK

    Its no more a surprise that a republican votes against a democrat pick than it is when a democrat votes against a republican pick. I just wish we had more in this nation than two parties that are polar opposites and completely predictable in everything they do.

    July 24, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
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