July 24th, 2009
11:42 AM ET
13 years ago

Hatch to vote against Sotomayor

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/07/24/art.hatch0724.gi.jpg caption="Sen. Orrin Hatch announced Friday that he opposes Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation to the Supreme Court."](CNN) - Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch said Friday he will vote against Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation to the Supreme Court, the first time the Utah Republican has voted against a high court nominee in his three decades as a member of Senate Judiciary Committee.

"After thoroughly reviewing Judge Sotomayor's record and being able to hear her testimony and responses during the hearing process, I reluctantly, and with a heavy heart, have found that I cannot support her nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court," Hatch said in a statement. "In truth, I wish President Obama had chosen a Hispanic nominee that all Senators could support. I believe it would have done a great deal for our great country."

Hatch's announcement came shortly after fellow Senate Judiciary Committee Republican John Cornyn also announced he would not support Sotomayor. So far South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham is the only Republican on the panel who has said he will vote for Obama's Supreme Court pick.

Sotomayor will become the first of 11 Supreme Court nominees Hatch will vote against.

Full statement after the jump:

"I entered into the confirmation process of Judge Sotomayor with the strong desire to vote in favor of her nomination. Her credentials and experience are very impressive and her personal demeanor is pleasantly cordial and friendly. I found that the great respect I have for Judge Sotomayor's heritage and history added even more to my desire to carefully review her record and opinions in hopes of finding them truly grounded in the rule of law and acceptable to earn the support and trust of the American people and myself.

"Arriving at a final decision was particularly difficult because I like and highly respect Judge Sotomayor and, in general, give a great deal of deference to any President's nominee. The prospect of a woman of Puerto Rican heritage serving on the Supreme Court brought great excitement to me and says a lot about America.

"However, after thoroughly reviewing Judge Sotomayor's record and being able to hear her testimony and responses during the hearing process, I reluctantly, and with a heavy heart, have found that I cannot support her nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. In truth, I wish President Obama had chosen a Hispanic nominee that all Senators could support. I believe it would have done a great deal for our great country. Although Judge Sotomayor has a compelling life story and dedication to public service, her statements and record were too much at odds with the principles about the judiciary in which I deeply believe.

"As I said during the hearing, some of Judge Sotomayor's critics have been intemperate and unfair. No nominee deserves that kind of treatment. I was grateful her confirmation hearing was both dignified and thorough, as they all should be. I was particularly pleased that Judge Sotomayor felt her hearing was as gracious and fair as she could have asked for.

"During my analysis, I focused on her record and applied standards and principles that define the kind of judge all Americans need. Qualifications for judicial service include not only legal experience but, more importantly, a nominee's approach to judging. This makes Judge Sotomayor's judicial philosophy more important than her stellar resume. I thoroughly examined her record with the more exacting focus appropriate for a Supreme Court nomination. This included reading and studying Judge Sotomayor's speeches, articles, and cases; meeting with and hearing from legal experts and advocates from different perspectives; and actively participating in the confirmation hearing.

"The duty of confirmation entrusted to all Senators requires we determine whether Judge Sotomayor has the legal experience and, more importantly, the judicial philosophy that properly equips her for service on the Supreme Court. I have done my best to leave politics aside and stay true to this standard during all twelve Supreme Court confirmations I have participated in. It saddens me to realize that after reviewing her record, I have reluctantly concluded that I cannot vote in favor of her confirmation. However, I wish her well in her future endeavors and believe she is a wonderful and talented American with much to offer this great country."

- CNN's Bill Mears contributed to this report

Filed under: Orrin Hatch • Sonia Sotomayor • Supreme Court
soundoff (94 Responses)
  1. faithful democrat/jacksonville

    All I have to say Sen. Hatch your seat is not guaranteed either. You have to win your seat by the America people. Watch out. Throwing stones can come back to haunt you.

    July 24, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  2. tennisguypitt

    Partisan politics at their best (from both sides).

    July 24, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  3. Ren from Baltimore

    Near-sighted, Senator Hatch. Shamefully so, disgustingly so.

    Politics at play, getting those digs into the duly elected President of the United States of America. Shame, shame, shame.

    July 24, 2009 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  4. LoLo

    This is not a surprise. He is part of the good ole boy network. Women and minorities do not stand a chance with Mr. Hatch. He has been this way forever and he will not change. You can't teach an old dog new tricks.

    July 24, 2009 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  5. Bryan

    Was his decision to vote against the judge really news worthy? Monkey see–monkey does. Orin Hatch has no direction of his own. After all these years in the Senate, he still can not make an independent decision.

    July 24, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  6. Enice

    You know what? I am a believer in the republican theory because after all Abraham Lincoln was a REPUBLICAN. Who in the GOP can compare to a guy like Abe? Now look what we have or whats left of them. REP leaders seem to have a personal agenda to push. They fight everything this president is trying to do to IMPROVE America. I don't have any issues with CONSTRUCTIVE critism and opposition however time and time again you have this republican or that republican speak out against an issue with NO solutions and hardly ever any suggestions...what the hell? What are you being paid by taxpayers to do? Oppose and talk ish?. This is ridiculous. God bless the day when we have a government that gets things done. Things for the citizens of its country, ALL OF THEM!

    July 24, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  7. Lauren

    This is not surprising.

    July 24, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  8. Thomas Franklin Fletcher Sr

    I am sorry to hear about the no vote from Sen Hatch. I believe that in 2010 the GOP will be no more. The most qualified of any supreme court nominee and Sen Hatch votes no.

    July 24, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  9. Retired US Army

    And why Senator Hatch can you not vote for what your fellow Republicans call the most qualified canidate for the Supreme court in decades.

    July 24, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  10. Suzan

    Big deal........just another White GOP racist bigot..........and I am a white conservative that is tired of all this GOP negative hogwash

    July 24, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  11. joe smith

    maybe after he votes no, he could investigate why the American people he has sworn to represent, have not received the report from Freddie Mac; but, we have a solution; perhaps we could get Robert Novak to get the President and the American people this information, after all he was thorough in "outing" what he was told to do not long ago in the Plaime/Libby matter..

    July 24, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  12. MR

    I really, really don't get it. Hatch voted for Clarence Thomas. Sotomayor is a liberal who has issued controversial, progressive-minded rulings that don't line up well with Hatch's strict constructionist views.

    So... why does it make him a racist to vote against a nominee whose ideology he fundamentally disagrees with?

    Perhaps the racists are those who would ascribe such nefarious motives to Hatch simply because he is a white Republican male.

    July 24, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  13. abraxis

    Do you mean to say that Orrin, as a white man, knows more than a Latina? His that why he is voting against her nomination?

    May be Orrin thinks that b/c she is a Latina, she is not qualified to sit on the SC Bench but a white man like Roberts who is an arch-conservative can?

    Can you say HYPOCRISY?

    July 24, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  14. duffey

    The polarization of the Democratic Party dominated Congress and the minority Republican Party is really appaling to the average citizen. It grows even more extreme with the likes of Gordon Liddy (a convicted criminal) and Rush Lumberg (a convitcted criminal, and drug addict) when normally sensible people wouldn't give them the time of day, but for some reason the GOP leadership has allowed these hate mongers to have a voice in the GOP forum. How did this happen?

    I belive Senator Hatch is very wrong in his rush to judgment of this canidate and is another example of right wing extremism that seems to have found a home in a party that seems to be imploding. GOP used to stand for the "Grand Old Party", I now think it means "Got Off Perspective".

    Trust me, this symbolic and stupid move by Senator Hatch will not go unnoticed by the Democrates, and thus he will be marginalized and his State residents will only suffer from this clumsy political move.

    July 24, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  15. Active Duty Democrat

    Please dont tell me someone is surprised...the Repubs oppose anything that makes sense...

    July 24, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  16. AP

    GOP. Grumpy Old Party.

    July 24, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  17. T

    I love how Democrats call the Republicans the party of NO, and how the Republicans are now accusing the Democrats of steam-rolling their views. What do you think both the Democrats and Republicans have been doing for the past 8 years??? When are we all going to realize that the problems we face aren't the fault of either side, and we actually need to start working together. It's idealistic, I know, but not as ridiculous as the claims that our country wouldn't be facing any major problems right now if it weren't for George Bush, or that Obama is leading us to Socialism. Those are the examples of idiotic talk that gets us nowhere.

    Those of you that think Hatch is just bowing to the NRA . . . do you REALLY think that he's worried about losing his seat? Do you REALLY think he needs to please the NRA to win an upcoming election? Come ON! He runs practically unopposed and probably needs to raise no more that $500 to remain in office.

    July 24, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  18. betty in Arizona

    Another old white guy who needs to find another line of work. Anyone who would vote for Clarence Thomas would vote for Bin Laden, because the NRA told him to.

    GOPers are idiots.

    July 24, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  19. Charles

    Obama chose Sotomayor because her extensive expereince and solid background in law. She will be an excellent Justice.

    July 24, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
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