July 27th, 2009
04:00 PM ET
8 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. B Lewis in Austin

    Can't wait for the next election so the Latinos can show these narrow minded old men what payback is all about. Pandering to their base is going to cost them their seats and it should. Put America first for once and not your dwindling party.

    July 27, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  2. Ren from Baltimore

    My in-laws are from Iowa (Mt. Pleasant and Des Moines). Grassley, you are on your own now; they have no idea what you are talking about, and are pretty sure you don't either.

    "Senator," indeed. You are showing your true colors here, sir, and it sure is redneck.

    July 27, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  3. RepubliKLANs Are Plain Stupid

    why is he scared to vote for a Hispanic; and for a woman who has more legal experience than any one who is now sitting in the supreme court...a woman that has been nomintated by a republican & democratic president prior?....1 answer only: these GOP retards are still nursing their hurt feelings from the "wise latina woman"! comment; it just shows that she is smarter than white men!!!!

    July 27, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  4. Melissa

    Of course. Because the Republicans are being nasty children instead of doing their jobs.

    July 27, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  5. 60's survivor

    just another self righteous jerk.

    July 27, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  6. Jose

    Grassley, if the former President would have put her up for nomination, I'm sure it would be a "YES" vote. Please don't try to mislead everyone with fiction as fact.

    July 27, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  7. Harold

    He may win in Iowa but on a national level, his party is sinking deeper and deeper;
    these "old white men" just don't get it; because I don't know what type of judge she will be;
    17 years of judical record? he doesn't know how stupid he sounds!

    July 27, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  8. yuri

    Good for you, Grassley. Now you can safely eat some grass, without punitive damages from the horses.

    July 27, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  9. Royster

    I see all the GOP senators lined up their talking points, so they are all saying the exact same thing against Sotermayor...

    NONE of them have the guts to admit they are intimidated by the rogue NRA and its 'idea' of what is right in this country.......

    But......ironically, the public statements saying they would not support Sotermayor did not come until AFTER the NRA threats last week.

    Look for 'opposition to Sotermayor' to be a major part of the re-election campaigns of all these senators, which will be proof of their fear of the NRA.

    It is a shame right wing fear has stopped thee votes since Sotermayor obviously has the credentials.....shame on you senators.

    July 27, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  10. Raul Dominguez

    Sorry to read Grassley and other Repubs exposing their lack of legal knowledge and true judicial restrain. Putting politics aside, they should vote for Sotomayer. AND I put President Obama in the same boat, since when he was a Senator, he too folded to political pressure on a vote when he knew he normally would have confirmed. But two wrongs don't make a right!

    July 27, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  11. kamenwati

    Another troglodyte who needs to be voted out of office for the good of his state and the good of the country. Let's get rid of these fossils. Time for a new direction with new leadership in both parties.

    July 27, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  12. M'villeBob, Missouri

    Perhaps the voters of Iowa will remember they have a fool as one of their senators!

    July 27, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  13. JonDie

    Angry, old white man.

    July 27, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  14. Jaimee

    I have had respect for Chuck Grassley. Bad call on this one Chuck. I guess you are just human and entitled to making an error in judgment. I am just curious who the snake was that tempted you to make this mistake. Was it the Hissing of the NRA that "charmed" you? I find it hard to believe you are racist, sexist, or just plain not bright enough to know she is well qualified.

    July 27, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  15. Tony G.

    It's so sad how political Republicans are making everything now. Whether it's health care reform or Sotomayor, the only reason they are going against the President is for political reasons. They have no soul, they have no honor. Death to the Republican Party.

    July 27, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  16. krejaton

    I agree with the sentiments here–how dare an elected official question the decision of the rightly elected president of the country!

    Who the hell does he think he is not rubber stamping and towing the line of the edicts of his president!

    WAIT...this isn't Iran, this is America where we covet the freedom of our vote and aren't expected to goose-step with the elected leader. Some of you liberals need to remember that.

    July 27, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  17. Mike in LR

    Funny. If voting against an hispanic means you lose their vote I'm shocked. After all Bush put up an hispanic judge with a very compelling life story and he was run off by the democrats. If anyone expects conservative people to accept a liberal judge they are silly.

    July 27, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  18. maxx atl

    Good riddens... hope none of the repugs vote for her a vote from themm was never expected anyway (the party of no) ...they do nothing what in the hell are they getting paid for...keep it up we wont have a worry in the world come 2012. lol lol lol lol .

    July 27, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  19. Mark

    He's not playing politics, or he'd just vote yes, and help himself out. By voting no, he's hruting his future, but standing up for what he thinks is right. He doesn't want a judge who has made questionable public statements and interpretations in the past, to be making those at the highest level possible.

    July 27, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  20. AJ

    Big surprise!! Grassly should be floating in the toilet not sitting in the Senate.

    July 27, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  21. Krammit

    If the dems hadn't pulled these tactics on Bush nominees, the repubs would not have pulled it on an Obama nominee.

    July 27, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  22. Jose Lopez Valesquez

    Grassley you are so Grizzly.

    Thank you, but your vote really does not matter.

    She is going to be the US Supreme Court Judge anyway.

    July 27, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  23. Mick

    3 decades? Why are these people still in office?

    July 27, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  24. Emma

    How does that translate to a powerful move on the part of a Republican.
    Did we really expect anything different than a no vote?

    I suppose he is one of the Extreme Lunatic group who wants to believe Obama is not a US citizen. No matter what words are used to describe the group, such as psychotic, delusional and idiotic, the true meaning still falls short of the illogic of it.

    July 27, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  25. J of K

    I would really like to see not only another woman, but a non-white on the Sepremme court. BUT ANYONE THAT SAYS .....
    In the speech delivered to the San Juan chapter of NOW, Sotomayor said, "I want to be perfectly clear about this next comment so that there is no mistaking my words to mean something other than what they plainly say: the time has come to end white male oppression by castrating every white male until they are no longer dominant in Western culture. That means forcible removal of their testicles. I realize the brutality of my comment, and I don't know how to say it more clearly."

    This is clearly someone that we can NOT put on our highest court. One bias will lead to another. Perhaps the next bigotry of hers will affect you. This should and cannot be allowed.

    July 27, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
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