May 28th, 2009
03:53 PM ET
12 years ago

Hatch: If no surprises, Sotomayor 'highly likely' to be confirmed

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Sen. Orrin Hatch says Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor 'will probably be confirmed' barring any 'disqualifying matters.'"]WASHINGTON (CNN) - It is part political reality - and, seemingly, part Republican strategy.

The longest-serving Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee tells CNN Radio that as things stand now, Sonia Sotomayor is headed for a Supreme Court confirmation.

"If there are no otherwise disqualifying matters here, it appears to me she will probably be confirmed," Senator Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said Thursday.

Hatch is acknowledging the Senate landscape. Democrats could have 60 votes in the chamber if Minnesota's Al Franken is seated, and they now hold a 12 to 7 majority on the Judiciary Committee.

But as he speaks to Sotomayor's strength, Hatch is also digging the first Republican battle line on her nomination: the schedule.

"If the Democrats don't overplay their hand and don't try to rush this too much, the process will go well, they'll be better off, she'll get confirmed," he said, again adding that is if no new concerns come to light.

(A report on the Republican battle line over Sotomayor after the jump)

The Utah senator and fellow committee Republicans Jon Kyl and John Cornyn, are pushing hard for a lengthened timeframe for debate. They say it is almost impossible to review Sotomayor's extensive record, debate her nomination and hold a Senate vote by August, as the White House hopes.

The opposition party usually fights for extensive time to try and find any hidden issues in a Supreme Court nominee's record. Hatch says senators need three months to consider Sotomayor, and that a vote should come after the Senate's August break, in September.

The White House wants confirmation before August, so that Sotomayor could set up her office and be ready for the Supreme Court's next term when it starts in October. A September confirmation vote would also complicate Democratic fights on health care and energy, which could then be at critical points.

But on the basic scheduling argument, Hatch insists a September Senate vote would still get Sotomayor on the bench in time for the new court session. The senator continued his strategic warning to Democrats.

"If they do it the right way," he said, "and there is no otherwise disqualifying feature to this, it is highly likely she is going to be confirmed as the ninth justice on the Supreme Court in time to sit on the court on the first Monday of October."

These are the strongest statements yet from any Republican about Sotomayor's chances of confirmation.

But they come with a political threat - a warning from Hatch that a vote before August would draw Republican fire.

Filed under: Orrin Hatch • Sonia Sotomayor • Supreme Court
soundoff (72 Responses)
  1. Mari( maybe one of my comments will be posted)

    Remember......... Senator Hatch....... when Sonia Sotomayor was nominated by George H.W. Bush, she was confirmed by the GOP controlled Congress ....... without....... opposition.

    We will expect the same now.

    May 28, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  2. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    If she's been confirmed twice previously, then there shouldn't be any issue with this confirmation process. But you know the GOP, always in oppostion to everything.

    May 28, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  3. Polar Bears Against Palen

    No one cares what you have to say, Hatch. Sit down and shut up.

    May 28, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  4. shucks

    This is laughable. Just the fact that the republicans think they can make anything out of her nomination is just too funny. You are the minority now. Get used to it. She will be confirmed unless she commits murder between now and her swearing in. The Democrats won this one big time. There aren't enough collective republican votes to raise a toilet lid let alone block a nomination for Supreme Court. I do hope they try their darndest though as they will surely alienate Latino's and more women. All you will have left are pigs with lipstick and big fat white men.

    May 28, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  5. J in NJ

    Judge Sotomayor, is generally a very liberal jurist but she has also taken traditionally conservative positions. For example she helped out the pro-life community by sticking up for the Bush administration, saying they had the right to not spend public money on abortions. Wait a minute she suported Bush, that's it she it out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Wonder how this is going to play out. The GOP would be wise to watch the rhetoric in assessing Judge Sotomayor. As long as she paid her taexs that is.

    May 28, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  6. dominican mama 4 Obama

    You can say it: she's in and deservedly so.

    May 28, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  7. Well Rounded American

    Who cares? In the end, it all amounts to rubbing elbows for a decision that pleases the President. Bring back morals, ethics and family values. Those things shouldn't be decided lightly or in courtrooms.

    As the moral fibers begin unravelling, chaos begins to spin rapidly on the other end. America wake up and recognize you are killing yourselves. We are a great nation, so let's start acting like it.

    May 28, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  8. Keith Pollard

    Mr. Hatch, stop trying to jockey for stallmate position. What is with the delay. The Senate with it's God like status thinking has become a real joke to the american people. Get on with your jobs, for the good of the country instead of always trying to give the impression that your thoughts are so important.

    May 28, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  9. marcia

    Let's get her in so we don't have to hear about her 24/7 for the next 6 months!

    May 28, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  10. Carl from MI

    She's more qualified than Roberts or Alito was... and Republicans just gushed over those two barely adequate justices. So Republicans can just shut up.. what a bunch of whiny cry-babies!!!

    I can't wait to see how many MORE Republicans get voted out of office next election exactly because of this kind of irrelevent partisan politics!! Someone please start the countdown.... hahaha

    They are the party of STOOPID!!

    May 28, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  11. Kate in SW Fla

    I do so hate Republicans, always looking for a political angle, after practically destroying this country. Ughhh

    May 28, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  12. J in NJ

    I have been reading on several websites the comments Sotomayor was "nominated by Bush 41 & confirmed etc..." Lets just remember one thing. 41 nominated her for one reason an that was so his other selections nominees would get confirmed. As they say she was the "token latina" at that time for the left, her nomination was pure politics so let's stop trying to make that nomination out to be more than what it was. Let's also remember that there were many rethgus (29 iirc) who opposed her nomination. Either way this confirmation will quick unless there is some major skeleton's that fall out of her closet.

    May 28, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  13. obama supporter

    Of course he 's going to say she will be confirmed, the GOP is trying not to ruffle the feathers of their own latinos, re elections is coming up and the good ole boys need their votes to, what a bunch of losers

    May 28, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  14. Kevin in Ohio

    I am an ultra-liberal progressive and even I have to admit that Hatch is making impressive sense for a GOPer.

    May 28, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  15. gt

    al franken ? i thought he was on the jack ass t v show...... stuart smalley ... a senator ? .... lord help us .....

    May 28, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  16. Sniffit

    @ fake Sniffit

    give it can't possibly match my eloquence you drooling faker

    May 28, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  17. jizzo

    Just as long as she is a fair person all should be ok, as for Rush Limbaugh he is one of the biggest racist on this planet, his operation chaos was nothing but a failure and now for the next 4 years all he will be doing is bad mouthing the President and everything and every choice he makes in an attempt to make sure his stay in the White House is only 4 years, in a time when people of all color need to pull together, Rush Limbaugh is one pathetic individual

    May 28, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  18. Simmy

    I know she will be confirmed......I would not want to see it become a long drawn out distraction like the Franken - Coleman standstill......

    May 28, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  19. Allen

    My question is.......Is this person even a legal US citizen? Seeing that the majority of mexicans in this country are illegal. Leave it to obama to sweep this serious matter under the rug. As a leal US citizen, I'm confused as to why I have to follow the laws of this country, but illegal mexicans get the red carpet rolled out for them and don't have to follow any of our laws...FREE welfare, FREE healthcare, the backs of legal US citizens. No wonder this country is so messed up....

    May 28, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  20. athomasr

    The media is so desperate for a story they will try to make something out of nothing. Until we turn the channel and stop watching these instigators we will continue to be dictated by these corporate hounds. The GOP is such a minority right now, what they have to say means very little to the majority who are very distraught over what they did to this once great nation.

    May 28, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  21. AJB

    "If the Democrats don't overplay their hand and don't try to rush this too much, the process will go well, they'll be better off, she'll get confirmed,"

    Kind of a childish response, but not unexpected from mr. hatch.

    May 28, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  22. JT

    The Republicans knew from the moment Sotomayor was nominated that she'd be confirmed. She has a stellar background. They knew all about each of Obama's shortlist considerations.

    But, they saw the whole process, starting at the point of nomination, as an opportunity to attack, obstruct, and throw racial loaded comments Obama's way. The whole contrived fake responses came out immediately in unison through the ususals – Rush Limbaugh, Romney, Huckabee, Pat Buchanan, Sessions saying "She's a racist", "She's a reverse-racist", "She's a Latina", "She's uneducated", "She's not smart".

    The GOP probably lost another good 5-10% from the remaining less than 20% of America that hasn't already left them. A ridiculously racist, sexist, and exclusionist party.

    May 28, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  23. Mari( maybe one of my comments will be posted)

    @ Sniffit........ I stand corrected. The Dems had a narrow majority back in '92.

    May 28, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  24. jj12345

    Dutch/Bad Newz, VA May 28th, 2009 3:57 pm ET

    If she's been confirmed twice previously, then there shouldn't be any issue with this confirmation process. But you know the GOP, always in oppostion to everything.
    You mean something like the respect the dems gave Alito and Roberts

    May 28, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  25. Carl from MI

    Maybe we should make a list of Republicans that have been on TV shows? I'm sure the list would be impressively long (and lame!)

    How convenient for Republicans to forget all of their celebrities, right down to Ronny being President!! Then again, being a Republican is all about convenient forgetfulness and short-term memory loss!!

    So Lord, spare us from another REPUBLICAN celebrity!!!

    May 28, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
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