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

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

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/04/01/art.hatch.gi.jpg 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. Alex

    Ya gotta love what one Republican strategist said last night. He said the Republican Party is like a piece of china that has been broken into pieces. Go ahead and opposed the Sotomayor nomination and might as well grind up the remaining pieces. He also said this opposition is not about whether Judge Sotamayor is qualified to sit on the Supreme Court, it is about getting even with the Democratic President because of the hypocrisy he has shown since coming to office. Is there any question remaining that the Republicans have a death wish as far as the party is concerned? Its not a wonder people are keaving the Republican Party and becoming Independants with lunacy like that. Rush can have all the leftovers!

    May 28, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  2. Grrr-awful-o

    But dems can't understand someone just making a decision based on merit. So naturally they expect that republicans will only think in us versus them terms. Just a difference in how we think.

    May 28, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    "a vote before August would draw Republican fire."

    Of it would. The last thing they want now is for her to be sitting when the same-sex marriage case is heard in the session starting in October. She's the 5th vote, because you know and I know that Scalia, Thomas, Roberts and Alito don't give a steaming turd what the Constitution requires.

    May 28, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  4. Marinn Pepitone

    shucks: I voted republican in the last election and I don't consider myself a minority. If anything, Sotomayor is the minority because she is Puerto Rican, I am white. And after reading her statement from years back she is a racist towards whites. Give me a break. Plus this has been the most underhanded corrupt election in the history of the democrats. I just listened to the news about another democratic Chicago alderman being indicted along with seven others. What else is new.

    May 28, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  5. ghost

    Face it fellas, your party is almost in retreat mode. With only Rush and the media hacks out there to do the dirty work for you, you look like a bunch of flaccid old men. And now you are just mad at your own impotence.

    And it shows just how soft and weak you guys really are. If it was me, I'd be screaming mad that they were just gonna roll over like the good lil pets they are. If they really thought she was that bad, they should fight against it instead of playing it safe for their political futures. Face it, no one in your party has the testicular fortitude to do anything but rely on their own survival instincts.

    But don't worry....your 21% won't drop by much. Until the old men start dying off, that is.

    May 28, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  6. Sniffit

    @ Grrr-awful-ooo, who said "So naturally they expect that republicans will only think in us versus them terms."

    Actually, it's based on the GOP's past and current behavior, not some looney freudian projection hiccup in our brains. Of course, the irony here is that you, another irrational GOPer minion, are projecting precisely what the GOP does onto the Dems by claiming that it is the Dems who do the projecting. Round and round the mulberry bush, the GOPers are such weasels...

    May 28, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  7. once upon a horse

    with the GOP double loudmouths Newtie and Rushie already calling her a racist,(and that's a laugh in itself coming from those two a racist and an aldulterer) the GOP has already thrown a wrench into her confirmation. In fact in a way I hope the GOP DOES try to bring this nominee down. That will show the Hispanic population what the far right REALLY is, something other minorities learned a long time ago. Latinos which one time were in the GOP corner will open their eyes and see what they are dealing with and leave in droves and the fall of the once proud GOP will continue by allowing the far right wing of their party to take them to the point of no return.

    May 28, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  8. SMP

    Allen:

    She was born in the Bronx, according to Wikipedia, to a Puerto Rican parents. Get your facts straight before you go stating things you know nothing about.

    May 28, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  9. Melissa

    Good. But the Republicans need to shut their bloody mouths and stop behaving like whiny children. They need to do their jobs, not use attack politics.

    May 28, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  10. Carl from MI

    Republicans don't think in terms of 'US' and 'THEM'? hahaha

    Once again... another case of Republican short-term memory loss!!

    Wasn't it the Bush Administration that said, 'If you're not with us, you're against us?' Wasn't there a whole BOATLOAD of Republicans that claimed if you dissented from Bush, you were guilty of TREASON?

    Of course, now if you disagree with our current President Obama... it's not treason, you're just doing your patriotic duty. What a load of bunk, Republicans!!

    One more reason why more of you will be given the boot come next election!!

    May 28, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    Reality check: The tapdancing tantrum the GOP is having it's potential 2012 nominees engage in over Sotomayor has nothing to do with any sincerely held beliefs on their parts that she's not fit for confirmation. It is 100% related to fundraising. First, they're going to be hard pressed in 2010 to make any headway given the fact that the overall coniption fit they've been throwing has lasted almost 6 months and shows no signs of abating. Second, the nonsense they're all vomitting won't win them any new voters...it's solely designed to make their sour-grapes already-convinced true-believer fundy/extremist base all the angrier that their tribe isn't in control. They're just thumping the war drums in between thumping their bibles.

    May 28, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  12. Marinn Pepitone

    The only reason Obama chose Sotomayor is because he needs the Mexican and Puerto Rican votes not because she is qualified. I believe her to be a racist against whitesand since Obama is not white or black but mulatto they make a good pair together. She is not the only non-white he chose. Both Holder and Emanuel are minorities that don't know which way the wind is blowing. And she won' t either. Give it time and you will hear all the outcry in the Supreme Court.

    May 28, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  13. phoenix86

    Of course she will be confirmed. Democrats could care less about racism unless it originates from a white male. The dems are all hyprocrites.

    May 28, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  14. Chuck, Tennessee

    I look at the minority party much the same as the defense counsel in a criminal case in this country. The defense counsel is there to make sure the government proves its case beyond a reasonable doubt and that the defendant's rights are protected. In the end, the government wins most cases. In the confirmation process, the minority party can and should raise questions to make sure the nominee is not confirmed with some disqualifying information about them going unnoticed or not found at all. Everyone is getting too crazy over this whole thing. Let these people do their jobs. Hatch basically said, "If there are no disqualifying matters, then she will be confirmed" What is wrong with that statement? Do we want her confirmed even if there are disqualifying matters?

    May 28, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  15. GOPer

    Orin Hatch needs to get a life.

    May 28, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  16. How bout that Dominican Republic vacation, Rush?

    @Marinn – Sotomayor is every bit of an American – Just exactly like you.

    Good thing we aren't going after your heritage, which is NONE better than Ms. Sotomayor's, by the way.

    May 28, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    Marinn Pepitone May 28th, 2009 4:28 pm ET

    shucks: I voted republican in the last election and I don't consider myself a minority. If anything, Sotomayor is the minority because she is Puerto Rican, I am white. And after reading her statement from years back she is a racist towards whites. Give me a break. Plus this has been the most underhanded corrupt election in the history of the democrats. I just listened to the news about another democratic Chicago alderman being indicted along with seven others. What else is new.
    ----------
    So, still haven't figured out the difference between the news and propaganda yet? I'm white and the whole arguement that Sotomayor is a racist is completely and utterly ridiculous. And plus, being white, I'm alright to be humble when it comes to racial opression, white people have done enough to opress different races over the last few millenia.

    May 28, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  18. Janelle

    Allen @ 4:24pm – She is not Mexican, she is Puerto Rican – A U.S. Citizen like you and I. Too much is being made of her ethic background...focus on her judiciary work as that is all that should matter.

    May 28, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  19. Sniffit

    @ Allen, "Is this person even a legal US citizen? Seeing that the majority of mexicans in this country are illegal."

    Seek help.

    May 28, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  20. Sniffit

    @ Marinn Pepitone, who said "The only reason Obama chose Sotomayor is because he needs the Mexican and Puerto Rican votes not because she is qualified."

    He already has them. Check the stats from November 4, 2008 before you simply believe what you've been told by one of the GOP's Grand Dragons. Claiming he's appointed her to get something he already has is completely inane.

    May 28, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  21. Marinn Pepitone

    Sniffit" She is not as fit for the Supreme Court as Judge Wood would have been. What were you reading lately. Let's be real. Obama didn't choose her because she was qualified, he needs the Latino vote in 2012 and she is his security. It has nothing to do with the republicans downgrading her. However, from what I read she has made some good mistakes as a judge and some nasty comments about whites. Well, I love being white. And I wouldn't want to trade places with her.

    May 28, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  22. Fitz in Texas

    phoenix86 May 28th, 2009 4:39 pm ET

    Of course she will be confirmed. Democrats could care less about racism unless it originates from a white male. The dems are all hyprocrites.
    ___________________________________________________________
    AMEN TO YOUR COMMENT AND OH SO TRUE!

    May 28, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  23. Dave - Right Leaning Independant

    I don't really care about her remarks. All I care about is that she is capable of understanding the constitution and following it.

    Also, I do believe she is racist. Everybody is, the difference is that only the white man is accused of it. If another race is accused of being racist it is swept under the rug, but a white male racist...He's attacked.

    Just look at Jesse Jackson, or Al Sharpton...But that is not racism, that is civil rights....Whatever.

    May 28, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  24. Sniffit

    @ Marinn, who said "he needs the Latino vote in 2012 and she is his security"

    The only subsection of the Latino vote he is going to potentially have to worry about is the south FL Cubans, but they're expenddable in the name of getting rid of that god-forsaken embargo that has never made any sense nor made any difference for 50+/- years. Again, you might want to carefully consider actual underlying factual data before you spout off at the mouth, not just what amount to conspiracy theories fed into your brain by those who know you're receptive to whatever they have to say even if it makes no sense.

    May 28, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  25. Lori

    Sotomayor will be sworn in and the Republicans will fail miserably if they try and attack this woman. Let me explain the Republicans strategy: TRY and pit whites against blacks and hispanics by instilling a fear that the 'white man is under attack.' and hope that us whites will become Republican. They're trying to bring up Sotomayor's Affirmative Action case but those that benefit the most from AA are WHITE WOMEN not ethnic minorities. My generation doesn't fall for race-baiting like older generations. It's such an old GOP tactic and it's so predictable.

    May 28, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
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