July 22nd, 2009
01:04 PM ET
5 years ago

Key GOP senator to back Sotomayor

Sen. Lindsey Graham announced Wednesday that he will vote to confirm Sonia Sotomayor.
Sen. Lindsey Graham announced Wednesday that he will vote to confirm Sonia Sotomayor.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - A key Republican senator announced Wednesday he plans to vote for Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor, adding further momentum to an easy confirmation for President Obama's first high court pick.

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham's decision bucks the views of most of his conservative GOP colleagues. Republican Sens. Jon Kyl of Arizona and Thad Cochran of Mississippi preceded Graham on the Senate floor to oppose the 55-year-old federal appeals court judge.

Graham called Sotomayor "extremely well-qualified" with an extensive legal and judicial record, but criticized some of her views expressed on and of the bench. He lamented "the politicization of the judiciary" that he said has hurt public respect for the courts and the legislature itself. Three other moderate Republicans have previously announced they would vote to confirm Sotomayor.

The Senate Judiciary Committee will vote next Tuesday whether to confirm her, followed days later by a full Senate vote. Confirmation is expected, and GOP leaders have said they would not filibuster the nominee.


Filed under: Lindsey Graham • Sonia Sotomayor • Supreme Court
July 21st, 2009
11:20 AM ET
5 years ago

Sotomayor committee vote delayed one week

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday delayed its confirmation vote for Sonia Sotomayor by one week.
The Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday delayed its confirmation vote for Sonia Sotomayor by one week.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – The Senate Judiciary Committee delayed its confirmation vote for Judge Sonia Sotomayor by one week Tuesday, acceding to GOP demands for more time to examine the Supreme Court nominee's record.

"We all know that Judge Sotomayor will be confirmed," said panel chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont. "Once she is passed in this committee, there will be no delay on the floor."

The White House and congressional Democrats have expressed confidence that a final floor vote on Sotomayor will occur before the early August Senate recess, leaving her with sufficient time to get settled into her new job and prepare for the high court's next oral arguments, scheduled for September 9.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, voiced her support for the 55-year-old federal appeals court judge, joining three GOP colleagues who earlier said they would vote for the nominee.

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July 21st, 2009
11:09 AM ET
5 years ago

Collins announces support for Sotomayor

Sen. Collins said Tuesday that she intends to vote for Judge Sotomayor.
Sen. Collins said Tuesday that she intends to vote for Judge Sotomayor.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins has joined her fellow GOP Sens. Olympia Snowe, Mel Martinez and Richard Lugar in announcing her intent to support Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor.

The judge "has impressive legal experience, has excelled throughout her life, and is a tremendously accomplished person," Collins said in a statement released Tuesday.

Collins said she knows that she will not agree with every decision Sotomayor will make as a member of the nation's highest court, but adds that she has "concluded that Judge Sotomayor understands the proper rule of a judge and is committed to applying the law impartially without bias or favoritism."

In a nod to the controversy surrounding Sotomayor's "wise Latina" comment, Collins said Tuesday that her "expectation is that Justice Sotomayor will adhere to Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's admonition that "a wise old woman and a wise old man would eventually reach the same conclusion in a case.'"

The Senate Judiciary Committee also decided Tuesday to delay the vote on Sotomayor's nomination for a week.


Filed under: Sonia Sotomayor • Supreme Court • Susan Collins
July 20th, 2009
04:54 AM ET
5 years ago

Leahy on Sotomayor: 'Stop the racial politics'


WASHINGTON (CNN) – The Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee said Sunday that Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor should be judged on the merits of her 17-year judicial record and the week of confirmation hearings that just ended rather than on suspicions about her racial allegiances.

“You had one leader of the Republican Party call her the equivalent to the head of the Klu Klux Klan,” Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy said on CNN’s State of the Union. “Another leader of the Republican Party called her a bigot,” Leahy added, later explaining that he was making reference to comments by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

After Sen. Jeff Sessions, the Ranking Republican on the committee, referred to Sotomayor’s past involvement in the Puerto Rican Legal Defense Fund, Leahy again suggested that some Republicans were being unfairly critical of Sotomayor.

“I hope we don’t go back to the day when we used to have African-Americans up for confirmation and say ‘Yes, but you belong to the NAACP so, you know, we’re really suspicious of you,’” Leahy said CNN’s State of the Union.

“C’mon, stop the racial politics,” Leahy added.

Leahy remarks drew an immediate response from Sessions.
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July 19th, 2009
07:41 PM ET
5 years ago

Leahy on Sotomayor: 'Stop the racial politics'


WASHINGTON (CNN) – The Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee said Sunday that Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor should be judged on the merits of her 17-year judicial record and the week of confirmation hearings that just ended rather than on suspicions about her racial allegiances.

“You had one leader of the Republican Party call her the equivalent to the head of the Klu Klux Klan,” Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy said on CNN’s State of the Union. “Another leader of the Republican Party called her a bigot,” Leahy added, later explaining that he was making reference to comments by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

After Sen. Jeff Sessions, the Ranking Republican on the committee, referred to Sotomayor’s past involvement in the Puerto Rican Legal Defense Fund, Leahy again suggested that some Republicans were being unfairly critical of Sotomayor.

“I hope we don’t go back to the day when we used to have African-Americans up for confirmation and say ‘Yes, but you belong to the NAACP so, you know, we’re really suspicious of you,’” Leahy said CNN’s State of the Union.

“C’mon, stop the racial politics,” Leahy added.

Leahy remarks drew an immediate response from Sessions.
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July 18th, 2009
04:25 PM ET
July 17th, 2009
03:42 PM ET
5 years ago

Two more Republicans pledge support for Sotomayor

Sen. Olympia Snowe announced Friday her support for Sonia Sotomayor.
Sen. Olympia Snowe announced Friday her support for Sonia Sotomayor.

(CNN) – GOP Sens. Olympia Snowe of Maine and Mel Martinez of Florida Friday both publicly announced their support for Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor, bringing the tally of Republican senators supporting Obama's pick to three.

"Judge Sotomayor is knowledgeable of the law, would be a fair and impartial judge, and seems to have a good understanding of the limited role the judiciary plays in our democracy," Martinez said in a statement.

Martinez, who was born in Cuba, also praised the historic nature of Sotomayor's nomination.
"As an Hispanic American, I take great pride in Judge Sotomayor's historic achievement. Given her qualifications and testimony this week, I intend to vote in favor of her confirmation."

Snowe said in a statement she was impressed with Sotomayor's performance at the hearings. "She appears neither rigid nor dogmatic in her approach to the essential task of constitutional interpretation," Snowe said.

Earlier Friday, Indiana Republican Dick Lugar also announced his support of Sotomayor.


Filed under: Mel Martinez • Olympia Snowe • Sonia Sotomayor • Supreme Court
July 17th, 2009
02:14 PM ET
4 years ago

McConnell to vote against Sotomayor

 Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Friday he will vote against the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Friday he will vote against the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will vote against the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor, his office announced Friday, marking the first time the Kentucky Republican has ever opposed a nominee to the high court.

"Judge Sotomayor's record of written statements suggests an alarming lack of respect for the notion of equal justice, and therefore, in my view, an insufficient willingness to abide by the judicial oath," he said in a written statement. "This is particularly important when considering someone for the Supreme Court since, if she were confirmed, there would be no higher court to deter or prevent her from injecting into the law the various disconcerting principles that recur throughout her public statements. For that reason, I will oppose her nomination."

McConnell, who also opposed Sotomayor's 1998 appellate court nomination, has previously voted to confirm every Supreme Court nominee since joining the senate in 1985, including Clinton appointees Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer.

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Filed under: Mitch McConnell • Sonia Sotomayor • Supreme Court
July 17th, 2009
11:39 AM ET
5 years ago

Specter to support Sotomayor

(CNN) –  Pennsylvania's Arlen Specter, the Republican-turned-Democrat who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, announced Friday he will support Sonia Sotomayor's nomination to the Supreme Court:

Judge Sonia Sotomayor brought to the Judiciary Committee hearings an outstanding record academically, as a prosecutor and as a commercial lawyer plus 17 distinguished years as a federal judge.  At the hearings she displayed intellect, restraint and judicial demeanor.  As the third woman and the first Hispanic, she will add needed diversity to the Supreme Court.

“I intend to vote for her and urge my colleagues to do the same.”

Earlier: Lugar becomes first Republican to back Sotomayor


Filed under: Arlen Specter • Sonia Sotomayor
July 17th, 2009
11:38 AM ET
5 years ago

Franken handles Senate debut with a light touch

WASHINGTON (CNN) - It was the role of a lifetime for comedian-turned-inquisitor Sen. Al Franken this week during Judge Sonia Sotomayor's Supreme Court nomination hearings.

The Senate's newest star seemed comfortable in front of the cameras, but less at ease with Senate procedure.

In one instance, Franken looked to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, to approve a request.

"I would ask for it to be entered into the record ... can I enter it into the record?" Franken asked. He was given the green light to go ahead.

Franken's national debut is also amusing his old peers on the comedy circuit.

"I just kept expecting 'Live from New York!'" said Jon Stewart on "The Daily Show" this week.

FULL POST


Filed under: Al Franken • Sonia Sotomayor • Supreme Court
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