WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama's Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor faces her next hurdle Tuesday morning, as the Senate Judiciary Committee votes whether or not to confirm her.
At least nine Republicans have said they will vote against Sotomayor, 55, Obama's first nominee to the nation's highest court. Five mostly moderate GOP lawmakers announced their intention to back her.
Republicans are not expected to be able to block her approval by the Judiciary Committee or the full Senate, which will vote on her nomination if she gets the green light from the committee.
She will become the first Hispanic Supreme Court justice if she wins full Senate backing.
Obama's Democratic Party holds an 11-7 majority on the Judiciary Committee and a 58-40 edge in the full Senate, with two independents leaning towards the Democrats.
Two key Republicans on the committee announced their opposition to her on Friday, a sign the party's conservative base is uniting against Obama's choice.
Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah - the former chairman of the committee - and Sen. John Cornyn of Texas - head of the party's Senate campaign committee –announced on the Senate floor their intention to vote against the federal appeals court judge.