July 27th, 2009
04:00 PM ET
4 years ago

Grassley to vote against Sotomayor

Grassley is voting against Sotomayor.
Grassley is voting against Sotomayor.

(CNN) – Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Monday he will vote against confirming Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor.

"I had hoped to be able to vote for Judge Sotomayor to be the next Justice on the Supreme Court, but after a thorough review of the hearing record and her cases, speeches and writings, I have come to the conclusion that I cannot support Judge Sotomayor’s nomination," Grassley said.

It will be the first no vote for Grassley on a Supreme Court nominee in the Iowa Republican's three-decade Senate career.

Full statement after the jump

Senator Chuck Grassley today released the following comment regarding his decision to vote against the nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to be an Associate Justice on the United States Supreme Court.

“I’ve had the opportunity to vote on many judges and Justices since becoming a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. We confirmed a great number of them. I had hoped to be able to vote for Judge Sotomayor to be the next Justice on the Supreme Court, but after a thorough review of the hearing record and her cases, speeches and writings, I have come to the conclusion that I cannot support Judge Sotomayor’s nomination.

“My vote must be based on the nominee’s respect for and adherence to the Constitution and judicial restraint. I question if Judge Sotomayor will be able to set aside personal biases and prejudices to decide cases in an impartial manner and in accordance with the Constitution.

“At her confirmation hearing, I asked specific questions about the property rights of private citizens afforded by the Fifth Amendment. My colleagues asked detailed questions about the now famous Ricci case, the right to privacy and the Second Amendment right to bear arms. I was not convinced that Judge Sotomayor understands the rights given to Americans under the Constitution, or that she will refrain from expanding or restricting those rights based on her personal preferences. I am not certain that Judge Sotomayor won’t allow those personal beliefs and preferences to dictate the outcome of cases before her. There’s no question that nominees have become quite adept at dodging our questions, but her lack of clear and direct answers to simple questions regarding the Constitution were troubling. Some of her answers were so at odds with statements she has made over the years, that it was difficult to reconcile them.

“Nearly 20 years ago, then Judge David Souter talked during his confirmation hearing about courts “filling vacuums” in the law. That concept greatly worried me, because courts should never fill voids in the law left by Congress. Since Justice Souter has been on the Supreme Court, his decisions have proven that he does believe that courts do indeed fill vacuums in the law. My vote has come back to haunt me time and time again. So, I’ve asked several Supreme Court nominees about courts filling vacuums at their hearings. Her lukewarm answer left me with the same pit in my stomach I’ve had with Justice Souter’s rulings that I had hoped to have cured with his retirement, and reinforced my concerns with her hearing testimony, cases and speeches.

“Only time will tell which Sonia Sotomayor will be on the Supreme Court. Is it the judge who proclaimed that the court of appeals is where “policy is made,” or is it the nominee who pledged “fidelity to the law?” Is it the judge who disagreed with Justice O’Connor’s statement that a wise woman and a wise man will ultimately reach the same decision, or is it the nominee who rejected President Obama’s empathy criteria?

“There’s no doubt that Judge Sotomayor has the credentials on paper to be a Justice on the Supreme Court. But, her nomination hearing left me with more questions than answers about her judicial philosophy, and I cannot support her nomination.”


Filed under: Charles Grassley • Sonia Sotomayor
soundoff (75 Responses)
  1. sandino

    What a fraud. Grassley knew going in he wouldn't support a hispanic woman. After all, that would only make 7 white men left on the Supreme Court. Who knows what might happen then. Privileged white men might not get a fair shake anymore.

    July 27, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  2. Rick

    The GOP needs to learn from the Anita Hill episode. Rather than treat a nominee with respect and, if they disagree with the nominee, vote against them, they should try to emulate the Libs and destroy the nominee's reputation; a 'la the way the caring liberals tried to destroy Clarence Thomas' reputation.

    July 27, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  3. Ken

    Hmm, if I stood up and said that because of my race and my gender I would make better decisions than someone of a different race and a different gender, would that qualify me to be a liberal judge sitting on the Supreme Court? Sadly, I have never considered my race or my gender to make me superior to anyone around me. Guess I would never make it as a lib.

    July 27, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  4. Mike Moderate

    All old men voting no from the GOP.....wow....am i shocked!!

    That's the way to stand up for yourself....boys.....you guys are becoming dinosaurs.

    What's the matter, afraid that Fox news won't have on their program??

    It must be weird to be a GOP senator and trying to make your vote mean something when it will mean absolutely NOTHING!!! Besides that, all I see is a bunch of cowards

    July 27, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  5. Gerry

    Keep up the good work, Senator. Within a short time, the Republicans will have alienated all but the most far right fringe of the US population. That should just about do it for the GOP as a national party. I’m sure President Lincoln is appalled that the party of the Emancipation Proclamation would stand with racism in the US and vote against the first Latina Supreme Court Justice nominee. For Shame, shame, shame on you, Senator.

    July 27, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  6. Big Ed

    Nothing specific as to what he objects to. Just like the other Republicans that have stated they cannot support her nomination, it is either thet are stuck on the "Latina" comment, or they have some undisclosed issue with her decisions. And then there's Sessions, grandstanding before the public. I'll bet he would like to take back those NAACP comments he made years ago when he was up for a Federal bench. But then again, that probably didn't count because he had his fingers crossed?

    July 27, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  7. kd

    Pathetic. Pure politics – the politics of race and hatred.

    Grassley should not only be ashamed, his constituents should steadfastly refuse to reelect him. Disgusting.

    July 27, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  8. Michael M, Phoenix AZ

    Another joke of a Republican....Wasn't it Grassley who was principal owner of the voting machines used in the 2000 election?

    July 27, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  9. Excuse me?

    Shocking. Another "no" from the party of NO. Iowa should say "NO" to him when he runs for re-election. I'm so happy Judge Sotomayor will be confirmed soon. Gets all the haters and "birthers" going again. Good God, people.

    July 27, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  10. John

    Way to go Grassley! I totally agree with him!

    Thank goodness we have a Judiciary Committe that can ask the real issues without rubbing stamping for the President.

    That's what check and balances are for. People who comment about Grassley as an old white man are clueless themselves!

    July 27, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  11. Palermo

    FLASH to Sen. Grassley: Your vote, yes or no, is not required to confirm her to the Supreme Court.

    Isn't this the same guy that said the corporate CEOs of all the failing US corporations should commit suicide? Good grief.

    July 27, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  12. phoenix86

    Thank you Senator. One more with moral courage to vote against a racist.

    July 27, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  13. Sniffit

    We knew it was going this direction anyway. They'll all vote No, the Dems will confirm her themselves, and the GOP's long line to get under the NRA's desk, knee-pads and all, will continue unabated.

    July 27, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  14. kd

    who said it?

    "Because when a case comes before me involving, let's say, someone who is an immigrant - and we get an awful lot of immigration cases and naturalization cases - I can't help but think of my own ancestors, because it wasn't that long ago when they were in that position."
    AND
    "When I get a case about discrimination, I have to think about people in my own family who suffered discrimination because of their ethnic background or because of religion or because of gender. And I do take that into account."

    Answer – Samuel Alito, at HIS confirmation hearings. Grassley and the other Republicans waved him through with tears in their eyes. But they have to vote no to Sotomayor. The hypocrisy, bigotry, arrogance and ignorance by the Republicans is amazing.

    July 27, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  15. Proud Member..Party of No

    Excellent choice. The politically correct, activist, racist candidate should be voted down.

    July 27, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  16. Jim

    Republican Party to Latino voters:

    Vote Democratic!

    July 27, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  17. Grandma Jo

    I am from Iowa and you better believe Mr Grassley WILL NOT get my vote or as I am talking to several other community members he will not get theirs either.

    No person in their right mind would vote against her with her qualifications. It seems to me Mr Grassley is siding with his Republican Party in that the more "No's" we can get the better it looks for them. I too have read her decisions and she went by the law and what God given talents she has.

    I am so upset with the Republicans these days that I now consider myself a Democract or Independent – never a Republican again.

    July 27, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  18. LacrosseMom

    Why not save yourself some time, CNN, and declare that ALL Republicans will vote against Sotomayor?!

    Of course, I hope the GOP realizes that they will NOT get the Latino vote in this century!

    July 27, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  19. cspurgeon

    What an idiotic old man. Term Limits would help eliminate some of this stupidity....

    July 27, 2009 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  20. Alex

    He must not need the Latino vote for re-election. He would swoon over her if he had a large Latino voting bloc to win.

    July 27, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  21. Jamie from Riverside

    and the party of NO means No!

    July 27, 2009 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  22. Sniffit

    "My colleagues asked detailed questions about the now famous Ricci case, the right to privacy and the Second Amendment right to bear arms."

    Translation: "We asked the same questions about the Ricci case ad nauseum just to keep impliedly calling her a racist, did a little dance about the law protecting abortion rights making us very very angry in our magic undies, then wiped our chins, winked and blew a kiss at the NRA."

    July 27, 2009 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  23. George Guadiane - Austerlitz, NY

    I TRIED to think of something pithy and/or eloquent to add, but...
    I got nothin', which is still more than these self absorbed, self righteous, self important bunglers have when it comes to explaining WHY they remain the party of NO!

    July 27, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  24. For You, For the US

    This was evident when he made his opening statement on the first day of her hearing. Again, not surprised that he would join Jeff Sessions.

    July 27, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  25. Working Class American

    Just exactly what we've come to expect from the Republican party. Nothing constructive, nothing in the country's best interest, nothing but no, no, no. I can't wait until they implode and are no more!

    July 27, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
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