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July 28th, 2009
06:41 AM ET

Two key GOP senators to oppose Sotomayor

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/07/28/formal.sotomayor.art.jpg caption="Sonia Sotomayor's Supreme Court nomination is to be put to a vote in the Judiciary Committee today."]

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Two key Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee announced their opposition to Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor on Friday, a further sign the party's conservative base is uniting against President Obama's first high court pick.

Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, the former chairman of the committee, and Texas Sen. John Cornyn, head of the party's Senate campaign committee, announced on the Senate floor their intention to vote against the 55-year-old federal appeals court judge.

Hatch's decision came as something of a surprise. The veteran Republican has voted for every high court nominee in his 32-year Senate career, including President Clinton's two liberal choices, Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer.

Hatch had praised Sotomayor's "credentials and experience" and the fact that she would be the first Hispanic justice. But despite the nominee's compelling life story, Hatch said that controversial off-the-bench comments by Sotomayor troubled him.

"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 written 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. 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."

Cornyn candidly admitted that his opposition to Sotomayor could carry political risks in his home state, where one-third of the electorate is Hispanic.

"Voting to confirm a judge - this judge or any judge - despite doubts would certainly be the politically expedient thing to do, but I don't believe it would be the right thing to do," he said on the Senate floor.

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Filed under: Politics
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Jane

    Re "Two key GOP senators to oppose Sotomayor." Your bias is showing again. You mean to tell me that there are absolutely no democrats having any negative thoughts about her?

    July 28, 2009 at 12:36 pm |
  2. Chris

    We dont need an activist judge.Her writings,her associations proves we dont need a judge like that.

    July 28, 2009 at 9:20 am |
  3. isaac

    First allow me to say, at least someone had the jouralistic guts to report fair and balance news. However, I really think that this Vick situation is BLOWN way out of WACK! Why? Vick didn't kill no one, ( person) that is, and we don't hear about the others who snitch to save their own BUTTS.

    Furthermore, Vick should be back to making a living like everyone else in this FREE world we live in. How about reporting about how Wall Street is back to their old tricks of giving 100 million dollars to a single man as a bonus! while middle America is still trying to get out of debt and make ends meat. How about that?

    July 28, 2009 at 9:00 am |
  4. Larry

    Cornyn, I hope that one-third hispanic electorate votes you right out of office.

    July 28, 2009 at 8:29 am |
  5. Bernice

    Better be more than two. This pick will just make the racism issue a much bigger issue, as we see it. NO... PLEASE VOTE NO!! This racist person does not need and should not have a seat on our judicial system.

    July 28, 2009 at 8:26 am |
  6. JEZEBEL58

    What other comments did Ms.Sotomayor make besides the "wise Latina woman and the issue with the firemen.If that's all these naysayers are holding against her that's too bad,Mr.Hatch says he wished that the president had chosen a nominee that all senators could support,if that was what they wanted all they had to do was choose a Hispanic and let the president know she or he is nominated,there's no need for all the grilling that took place.I watched all of it and she held up really well under pressure.I knew Cornyn was a NO from the beginning but is surprised at Mr.Hatch's decision not to nominate.

    July 28, 2009 at 8:11 am |