May 28th, 2009
07:30 PM ET
14 years ago

Kansas senator to oppose Sotomayor

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption=" Roberts said Thursday he will vote against Sotomayor."]

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, said Thursday he does not plan to vote to confirm Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor, becoming the first Republican to explicitly state his opposition to President Obama's pick for the high court.

"With all due respect to the nominee and nothing personal, I do not plan to vote for her," Roberts told talk radio host Christ Stigall on Kansas station KCMO.

Roberts also noted he was one of the 28 Senate Republicans in 1998 who voted against confirming Sotomayor to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. Sotomayor was ultimately confirmed to that court by a 68-28 vote.

"I did not feel she was appropriate on the appeals court," Roberts said of his 1998 vote. "Since that time, she has made statements on the role of the appeals court I think is improper and incorrect."

"I think that we should be judging people not on race and gender, or background or ethnicity or a very compelling story," Roberts continued. "There are a lot of people who have that."

Filed under: Sonia Sotomayor • Supreme Court
soundoff (152 Responses)
  1. Adam

    Without opening this I had a hunch that Mooney wrote this article.
    Whenever it is against something Democrat, he comes up as the author. There must be a concerted effort to make CNN another Fox News. If Mooney, Henry, Mr. & Mrs. John King and others at CNN love the Fox slant, why don't they go there, and allow CNN to just report the news without the delightful twists against anything Obama. We barely watch CNN anymore because of this.

    May 28, 2009 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  2. JT

    Sen. Roberts said: "I think that we should be judging people not on race and gender, or background or ethnicity or a very compelling story, there are a lot of people who have that."

    * * * * * * * * *

    So, Senator Roberts, what exactly are YOU basing your opinion of otomayor on?????????????? Racism is ugly.

    May 28, 2009 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  3. Jason

    Why is it that whenever a person of minority is nominated for a position of prominence, the assumption is always that they were not qualified? There are plenty of women, African-Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, etc who have outstanding qualifications.....

    May 28, 2009 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  4. Independent

    Folks a little perspective here would be nice.

    For comments regarding his "closed mind". Did you not read the article? He already is familiar with her views from her prior appointment hearings so his decision is "informed". A little early, yes. But he already knows that he can't support her. It isn't complicated or unusual.

    For comments about "the old white dude..." Who is Obama's VP and wouldn't your comments apply to him also?

    For comments expressing outrage that her past comments are being scrutinized. You should familiarize yourself with sumpreme court justice nomination history. You will quickly learn that is the way it works. I recall Alito having to answer for possibly being associated with a radical magizine in college.

    For comments regarding her ethnicity: You can't use ethnicity as both a shield and a sword. Either push for her based on legal qualifications or push for her based on affirmative action.

    Finally, please stop pretending to posess some type of moral highground in every single petty issue. It just makes you look irrational and immature.

    May 28, 2009 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  5. Ted

    How ridiculous. He has made up his mind before the hearings. The Republicans continue to demonstrate their closed minds and their negativity. No wonder people are leaving their party in droves.

    May 28, 2009 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  6. Henry Miller

    Senator Roberts is absolutely right.

    Laws in the US are intended to be color blind, race blind, gender blind, etc. That's a fundamental principle of American law–and Sotomayor has stated more than once, in a couple of different ways, that not only does she think that justice shouldn't be blind, but that she does make, and intends to continue to make, judgments based on the ethnicity and sex of the parties involved.

    She did precisely that in the New Haven firefighters case: She endorsed screwing a bunch of white firefighters out of promotions they'd earned just because no black firefighters passed the promotion exam. All the firefighters, black and white, took the exact same exam, at the exact same time, in the exact same room. You can't get any fairer than that. A large fraction of the white guys passed; none of the black guys did. New Haven decided, instead of giving the white guys who passed the promotions they'd earned, to throw out the whole test and promote no one. The white guys sued and eventually it wound up in Sotomayor's court where she ruled against them.

    By Sotomayor's own logic, had the situation been reversed and a lot of black guys passed, the white guys didn't, etc., she would have ruled for the black guys.

    You can't get much more biased than that, and Sotomayor apparently intends to bring that kind of racial, ethnic, and sexual bias to the Supreme Court, something that can't but damage the integrity of the Court.

    May 28, 2009 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  7. Necie in OKC

    Well – Don't vote for her – who cares?

    In my experience, Latino's are proud people. They work hard and are willing to do whatever it takes to support their family. I have more respect for this Lady BECAUSE of her background and experience-this is richness she will bring to the bench. They all do it because they all are human.

    Oh....and I'm sick of tired old white men and their sense of entitlement to everything of prestige and power.

    May 28, 2009 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  8. Michael B

    He's giving his opinion based on substance... not personal issues, not out-of-context phrases. He waited a day, and made his decision. Notice it had nothing to do with her race or gender.

    He basically is doing the EXACT same thing Senator Obama did twice.

    May 28, 2009 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  9. GOP = 21st century dodo

    A Republican from Kansas can kowtow to the base as much as he wants with impunity

    May 28, 2009 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  10. Repubs are so Angry

    @Roberts said Thursday he will vote against Sotomayor.She doesn't need your Vote .....You old Goat!!! Sotomayor will be confirmed !!!!!

    May 28, 2009 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  11. Scott Alexander

    Roberts is clearly a racist or just your everyday, ordinary GOP bigot.

    He's voting against her confirmation because she's either hispanic or because she's female. There's no other clear reason he would vote against her since her record's been squeaky clean.

    Think I'm wrong? Think Roberts is doing the right thing? Then why was he for the confirmation of John Roberts when Roberts has publicly questioned racial integration? Senator Roberts would rather have a racist on the court than an open-minded judge. Shame on him and everyone who agrees with his agenda.

    May 28, 2009 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  12. jss4541

    Who does Pat Roberts think he's fooling? This is definitely about voting against a woman and a minority. I bet he had no problem voting for John Roberts for Chief Justice and he doesn't have one quarter of the intelligence, legal or otherwise, that Sotomayor does.
    Well, Pat Roberts can win praise from Limbaugh and Hannity, certainly not something to be proud of, but what do you expect from a Republican?

    May 28, 2009 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  13. GOP = 21st century dodo

    @ Enough:

    "With the Dems completely in control there are NO checks and balances. Does anyone really want that?"

    Were you living in a cave on Mars during 2000-2006?

    May 28, 2009 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  14. rick james

    It is a good thing his vote doesn't matter.

    May 28, 2009 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  15. No Incumbents 2010

    Pat Roberts is a disgrace to his state and to the Senate. If Pat Roberts had his choice, women would not be allowed to work or vote. Only people that think exactly like him could serve in government. His opposition to Sotomayor is pure political pandering to the far right so he can escape a primary challenge.

    May 28, 2009 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  16. Moderately Moderate

    So, let me get this right.

    She was salutatorian at Princeton.

    She was editor of the Law Review at either the best or one of the top 3 law schools in the nation.

    She has more federal judicial experience than anyone on the court did the day they were nominated–and more than anyone, in fact, in 100 years.

    So, your strategy is a) "she's stupid" (Rove) b) "she's racist" (Limbaugh), c) "She is too empathetic" (most everyone else in the GOP)?

    May 28, 2009 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  17. elvera

    Thank you Wolves form NC. I agree, Sen Pat Roberts is truly not worth a comment.
    He is a true member of the "NO IDEA" Republican Party.

    May 28, 2009 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  18. gl, Pittsburgh

    Whites can never relate to discrimanation as minorities can becasue they are the one that do all the discrimations and when it happen to them, which is not that offen, they cry like a baby. As a minority we have live with discrimanation for many, many years and had to learn how to deal with it which is not easy. I see that most of the white Republicans party are having a real hard time dealing with a minority leader running things and just can not play fair becasue they can not believe this world nolonger belong to the whites only and lost controll of their beloved country to a black man bottom line. These Republicans are going to keep this mess up until President Obama term is up and this is going to make everybody, including some from their party, to really ignore them and vote most of them out. The young whites of today are not racist like most of their periods and they refuse let racist become part of their live and I love them for that. We can all move forward and away from racist when the old 60 and over die off.

    May 28, 2009 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  19. voter

    Is this surprising? It is interesting how the republicans blasted anyone who did not like alito or roberts. However, they can oppose Sotomayor without reviewing her record. Hypocricy at its best. Second, for those who believe choosing Sotomayor for the supreme court is based on race. Ask yourself this question. Why haven't you made these statements when the other 8 White justices were nominated. Can you tell me that of all of the lawyers and judges in this country only the 8 White justices are qualified? Please think logically before making incoherent statements.

    May 28, 2009 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  20. gl, Pittsburgh

    Ruty May 28th, 2009 9:14 pm ET

    Have you notice almost all politicians opposing Sotomayor are rich, old white men. What are they afraid of

    I just answered you question which is the fear of not being the only one running this country. They have to share this country with other races and that scare the hell out of them.

    May 28, 2009 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  21. suzyku

    Just another rethug loser!

    May 28, 2009 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  22. Ryan

    Previous pres W got his way by confirming his buddy ( The current Chief of justice ).

    What's the GOP's big deal about such a progressive choice (Sotomayor) for Associate Justice?

    GOP has to realise that opposing Sotomayor will do more harm than good to their own party.
    GOP does not even know anymore when to shut up in order to minimise the damage.

    May 28, 2009 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  23. Pat, CA

    Good for you, Senator Roberts!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 28, 2009 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  24. daniel arnaut

    I tell you, listening to these Republicans whine how they have always been the party of polite Boy Scouts, respectful and polite in contrast to those dastardly Democrats, is one of the great knee slappers of the age! What a steaming pile!

    May 28, 2009 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  25. AL Conservative

    Who cares how this over-lived idiot will vote. It will not matter on this supreme court nominee nor, will it matter on the other two nominees
    the president will have the priivlege of selecting. They will all be confirmed. Mark my words.

    May 28, 2009 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
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