Senate Cmte Vote Soon on Sotomayor Supreme Court Nod, No Filibuster Likely

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 16, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Senate Cmte Vote Soon on Sotomayor Supreme Court Nod, No Filibuster Likely

by Steven Ertelt Editor
July 16
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — The nomination of appeals court judge Sonia Sotomayor to replace retiring pro-abortion Justice David Souter on the Supreme Court is beginning to have an air of inevitability. That’s in part because one top senator says he expects the committee vote next week and no filibuster on the Senate floor.

During another day of questioning today, pro-life Alabama Republican Jeff Sessions, who is the top GOP member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he expected a vote next week on Sotomayor’s nomination.

Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Pat Leahy, an abortion advocate from Vermont, said he wants a vote from the panel on Sotomayor on Tuesday, July 21, but Sessions says that it too early.

Under Senate rules, Republicans can postpone the vote a week and he apparently intends to do that.
“I think it is unrealistic,” Sessions said following end of Sotomayor’s testimony. He said there “will be a number of questions submitted to the nominee that take some time.”

But, after the committee approves Sotomayor and sends her confirmation to the Senate floor, Sessions indicated she will likely be easily approved and he doesn’t expect anyone will filibuster her nomination.

“I will not support and I don’t think any member of this side will support a filibuster or any attempt to block a vote on your nomination,” Sessions told Sotomayor during questioning today. “I look forward to you getting that vote before we recess in August.”

When the committee does vote, the results may not come entirely along party lines.

Although many pro-life lawmakers will oppose her because it appears she will support abortion once on the Supreme Court, pro-life South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, may not be among them.

He has sharply questioned Sotomayor about abortion and criticized her judicial activism.

"I am going to say this, that, as Senator Feinstein said, you have come a long way. You have worked very hard. You have earned the respect of Ken Starr. … And you have said some things that just bugged the hell out of me," he said, referring to the comment that she would be a better judge than a white man.

“To those who may be bothered by that, what do you say?” Graham asked.

Sotomayor answered, “I regret that I have offended some people. I believe that my life demonstrates that was not my intent to leave the impression that some have taken from my words."

“You know what, judge? I agree with you,” Graham replied. “Good luck.”

Other Republicans may not be so inclined, such as pro-life Sen. Tom Coburn who questioned Sotomayor about comments she has made about relying on international law — which could be used to cement the so-called right to abortion further.

“I will not use foreign law to interpret the Constitution or American statutes,” Sotomayor pledged. “I will use American law, constitutional law to interpret those laws except in the situations where American law directs a court.”

Should she become a member of the high court, pro-life Americans will hold her to that.

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