July 27th, 2009
11:30 AM ET
5 years ago

Sessions to 'withhold...consent' on Sotomayor

Judge Sotomayor was greeted by Sen. Patrick Leahy, center, and Sen. Sessions, right, during her recent confirmation hearings.
Judge Sotomayor was greeted by Sen. Patrick Leahy, center, and Sen. Sessions, right, during her recent confirmation hearings.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee announced Monday that he will not vote to confirm Judge Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court.

In an op-ed published in Monday's USA Today, Sessions concedes that Sotomayor "will likely be confirmed." But the Alabama Republican says that "as someone who cares deeply about our great heritage of law, I must withhold my consent."

Sessions says he had decided not to support Sotomayor because of three decisions he finds troubling: a 2006 private property decision, her 2008 New Haven firefighters decision, and a 2009 decision about gun rights.

"These rulings have three things in common," Sessions writes in the newspaper. "Each was contrary to the Constitution. Each was decided in a brief opinion, short on analysis. And each was consistent with liberal political thought."

Sessions is the third Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee to announce his opposition to Sotomayor. He joins Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch and Texas Sen. John Cornyn. South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, another Republican on the committee, has announced he will vote for Sotomayor. The committee is expected to vote Tuesday on Sotomayor's confirmation.


Filed under: Jeff Sessions • Sonia Sotomayor • Supreme Court
soundoff (90 Responses)
  1. Steph

    Who cares?!?! Vote and let her start her job.

    July 27, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  2. Vickie

    Big surprise....................

    July 27, 2009 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  3. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Wow! Sen. Graham is the only republican on the judiciary committee who will vote for her. That says alot for the GOP. And sen. Sessions not voting is not surprising. I fealt he had animosity toward Judge Sotomayor the entire time.

    July 27, 2009 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  4. cool rock

    As long as Sotomayor gets confirmed, thats all America cares about. Like the lame GOP ,all Sessions cares about is grand standing. His reasons for confirming No to Sotomayor has no substance and is very vague. He doesn't really speak well. He has a southern twang slang dialect.

    July 27, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  5. Gary

    The vote should be based on each senator's judgement. If this is what he believes and how he feels then he is doing the right thing. She will likely be confirmed anyway.

    Congress has to get away from making political votes and make more principled votes. If every congress person actually read the bills they were voting on and voted their principles, things would probably be better. Earlier this year the so-called stimulus bill was voted without anyone reading it and completely along party lines. I think a search of their hearts and reading of the bill could have saved us a trillion dollars in additional debt.

    July 27, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  6. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    Who cares? The GOP is sinking like a rock

    July 27, 2009 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  7. Richie

    What a numbskull. The 2008 New Haven firefighters decision was overturned on a 5-4 vote in the SCOTUS. Are the 4 dissenters unqualified to serve? Not the first time I've been unimpressed with Sessions. He's just a knee-jerk jerk.

    July 27, 2009 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  8. Matt

    Isnt Sessions a racist and didnt get his judgeship because of his comments??? ZYeha thats what I thought

    July 27, 2009 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  9. canta

    He gave three very good reasons. Her decisions were agains the Constition. Well done.

    July 27, 2009 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  10. Charles

    Ironic how a man denied confirmation to the Federal bench for "racial insensitivity" thinks he is qualified to pass judgement on Judge Sotomayor.

    July 27, 2009 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  11. LacrosseMom

    We ALL knew that the GOP would not support Judge Sotomayor.

    Big surprise?!

    July 27, 2009 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  12. Kevin

    Why wouldn't these Senators vote for Sotomayor? Her record is stellar and shouldn't base their vote on the decision of 3 cases. The fact that she explicitly stated she will follow the rule of law and abide by the Constitution and her life and career experience make her one of the most qualified for the Supreme Court. She will be a very refreshing voice in the ever increasing ivory tower most of the justices are in. Sotomayor will be confirmed easily. I am very proud of the 2 Republicans from my home State of Maine who will be voting for Sotomayor. Obama made an excellent choice.

    July 27, 2009 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  13. tee

    The fact that Sessions could be a well known racist, and have his position is troubling....who is he to judge

    July 27, 2009 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  14. twitwits are the new nitwits

    What state is Sessions from?Need I say more?I say lets boycott every thing made in that state and all their businesses.

    July 27, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  15. andrea

    He was going to vote NO from the get go.

    July 27, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  16. Nunya

    So does this mean that he wasn't able to find three decisions of Roberts or Alito with which he disagreed? I think not...

    Citing three specific cases is just pure searching for reasons to try to give cover to what he had decided anyway.

    And those who claim to be against her because of 'judicial activism' while complaining about the firefighter decision are hypocrites of the highest order. She has explained quite clearly how the decision the appellate court gave was driven by adhering to established precedent and the overturning was the higher court establishing new precedent. She was in the position of judicial restraint in that situation.

    July 27, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  17. Greg, San Francisco, CA

    What a shock...

    July 27, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  18. a little sad

    This is the clown who resented that her name was hard to pronounce.

    His indepth analysis is less tahn compelling.

    July 27, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  19. Larry

    Who cares?

    Sessions will be voted out in the his election anyway.

    July 27, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  20. Mario, mtl, ca.

    Surprise, surprise,, NO this guy is a racist and hypocrite

    July 27, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  21. Beny

    He only cares about the WHITE heritage. If she was a white male, he would support her.

    July 27, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  22. Russ

    The common denominator with these three Republicants is they are are old predjudiced, hypocritical, racist white men. Did I mention that they are also idiots?

    July 27, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  23. Randy in AZ

    How many thousands of decisions has Sotomayor made over the years? Sessions wanted to vote against her from the get go, and had to figure out a way to back up his position. Hatch and Cornyn caught flack for their shallowness in saying that their opposition was based on her speeches, while ignoring her judicial record. So Sessions picks apart her thousands of judicial decisions, and finds three that he disagrees with, to "justify" his superficial position.

    The only reason Sessions opposes her is because she is an Obama nominee, and it's the Republican playbook to oppose all things Obama.

    If G.W. Bush had nominated her in place of John Roberts to be Chief Justice a few years ago, Sessions and the other Republicans would have been falling over themselves to get her confirmed.

    July 27, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  24. MonRob

    Who cares about a crazy man from Alabama?

    July 27, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  25. Brian

    This is just awful politics. George W. Bush appointed two justices and, with the exception of Harriet Miers (Bush cronyism at its worst), had them heard and seated with very little antagonism from democratic sentators. Now that Barack Obama has nominated a highly intelligent and qualified minority judge, the worst of the GOP is showing through yet again — fear, xenophobia and revenge politics.

    July 27, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
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