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. An Independent

    Translation: I think she's a great person and well qualified, but politics is more important to me than fairness or doing what's best for the country. The NRA told me to vote against her and it's also better for my party if I do, so even though I know it's the wrong thing to do, I will vote against her.

    July 24, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  2. saywhat

    "Wish her well in her future endeavors"? I guess Sen. Hatch wishes her well as the next Supreme Court justice.

    July 24, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  3. Paul, CA

    Enjoy your little party for the next four years all you "confident" Democrats. There are millions of Democrats just like myself who are quietly in the process of reassessing the "mistake" we made last November. We won't make the same mistake again!!!!!!

    July 24, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  4. jane

    i believe this is the guy who voted yes on clarence thomas!! i'm not sure his judgement is the best when it comes to women.

    July 24, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  5. M Vargas

    Just another example of how partisan and extreme the GOP has really become under Neo-Con rule. Supreme Court votes used to be a non-partisan affair on capitol hill until Republicans started nominating extremists (Bork, Scalia, Thomas, and Alito) or incompetent jokes (Meyers), and supporting bogus legal philosophies that mysteriously appeared during the conservative return to power.

    Classical and Big Tent conservatives, it's time to rise up against the tyranny of the extremists and bring the GOP back to the middle.

    July 24, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  6. Biased

    Funny how Hatch is supposed to bow to the will of the democrats and vote for the first Latina woman on the Supreme Court but democrats filibustered and derailed an hispanic male to a lower court, just a stepping stone from the SC because they were afraid of him reaching the highest court in the land. So are we others to presume that it was wrong for democrats to vote against Estrada because he was Hispanic and might be a future SCOTUS appointee but now it is intolerable if people vote against a dem nominee Latina? Are dems showing racial preference to Latina women but not men or a hsipanic on the court is only suitable if placed there by a democrat to solidy their voting base but not if they were nominated by a republican?

    July 24, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    Glad to hear at least he will take the time to vote. He's so busy trying to get a bill thru Congress to change BSC rules that I though he didn't have time to do healthcare, budgeting, the SCOTUS or anything else.

    Oh well, I'm sure sports are still his TOP prority.

    July 24, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  8. ArtNYC

    This is the first time he's voting against a supreme court nominee, maybe that should tell everyone something about Sotomayor. Stop bashing him for no reason.

    July 24, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  9. Barbara Independent in NY

    Just another old white bigot. He is the true face of the Republican party.

    July 24, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  10. Mark

    Who cares? The GOP continues to consolidate its role as the party of old, white racists, gun fetishists, and Talibangelicals. She's got the votes. Hatch can jump in a lake.

    July 24, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  11. Emma

    Paul from California: Your generalization about so many folks being wrong about electing Obama is a broad, sweeping one and your voice for a lot of other people bears little credibility.

    July 24, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  12. Vicki

    This guy has been a proven idiot for years.....whats new?

    July 24, 2009 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  13. Kyle

    If Americans really want change, we are going to have to rid ourselves of the GOP party as it stands now. They have become a party strictly for personal gains, they say NO to everything. If we really want a future, vote the GOP out on their ears!

    July 24, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  14. Dick

    To Republicans with apologies to Pink Floyd:

    All in all it's just another brick in the wall.
    All in all you're just another brick in the wall.

    July 24, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  15. Donna from Colorado Springs

    Senators Hatch and Cornyn voting against Ms. Sotomayor.......what a huge surprise! Being good Republicans, they must do their parties bidding and bow to the great and wise Limbaugh! Fortunately, we don't need your votes senators.

    July 24, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  16. Kyle

    hatch is a old school disgruntled Republican....time to leave Orrin, women do have brains!

    July 24, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  17. What the...

    You can't teach an old dog new tricks & Republicans have turned into the party of "no." Even Hatch has fallen prey to the petty point scoring and spitball throwing that has doomed his own party to irrelevant status. Pity them, they can't help it.

    July 24, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  18. Jonita

    I'm simply Stunned by this...... they never had any intention on voting for a woman who's more qualified than any Justice currently sitting on the Court...but who cares she doesn't need their Closed minded Votes any way...

    July 24, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  19. Travis Tillotson

    His opposition means nothing. She will be sworn in and he will be another republican unwilling to depart from the failure of his party.

    July 24, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  20. Mack

    Orrin – next time you go to the tanning booth, put your hands under the rays!

    July 24, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  21. WhiteMan

    Another racist GOP member? Surprise!

    July 24, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  22. Debra from Georgia

    Another piece of evidence that the party of no is full of a bunch of old white men. That one comment over this ladies entire record is keeping him from voting for her. This is about Obama, I know they are voting against the President. That is their agenda, vote against the president. A bunch old white men.

    July 24, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  23. moosehead

    " with a heavy heart",... more like " with a heavy wallet",.. thank you NRA.

    July 24, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  24. Ken in NC

    If that idiot, Cornyn, at the end of the hearing said something like, I found myself wondering who is the real Judge Sonia Sotomayor, he should have asked the real one to stand up.

    As far as Senator Hatch is concerned, someone opened his "Hatch" and let all his smarts float away.

    July 24, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  25. faithful democrat/jacksonville

    All I have to say Sen. Hatch your seat is not guaranteed either. You have to win your seat by the America people. Watch out. Throwing stones can come back to haunt you.

    July 24, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
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