Senate Judiciary Committee Backs Sonia Sotomayor Nomination for Supreme Court

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 28, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Senate Judiciary Committee OKs Sonia Sotomayor Nomination for Supreme Court

by Steven Ertelt Editor
July 28
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — The Senate Judiciary Committee today approved the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court position vacated by retiring pro-abortion Justice David Souter. The 13-6 vote largely split along party lines with only pro-life Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina joining Democrats backing her.

"There is not going to be a major shift in the balance of power here," Graham said during comments prior to the vote.

Graham said Tuesday he would vote for her, though he would not have chosen her.

He said it is important that the first Latino Supreme Court justice be approved and he said that he is concerned about Sotomayor’s speeches but that her record had, thus far, not been as activist as her rhetoric.

Sen. Tom Coburn, a pro-life Oklahoma Republican, disagreed.

"I regret that I can’t vote for her,” Coburn said. "I think she is an impressive individual. I liked her a lot, but that’s not good enough for me.”

Sen. Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican, also said he could not bring himself to support Sotomayor because of concerns she would be a judicial activist on the bench.

"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," he said. "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," Hatch said.

Republican Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa agreed with Graham that "She can be no worse than Souter from our point of view," but said he still couldn’t officially support her nomination.

Democratic senators praised the judge, including pro-abortion Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, who said previously she is convinced Sotomayor will uphold unlimited abortions on the high court.

"I see her as a most impressive person on a number of different levels," Feinstein said. "I find no example of infidelity to the law."

At least nine Republicans have said they will vote against Sotomayor, pro-abortion President Barack Obama’s first high court pick.

Five GOP lawmakers announced their intention to back her and they will do so perhaps with every one of the 60 Democratic senators.

Last week, leading pro-abortion group NARAL endorsed Sotomayor citing her comments during the confirmation hearings that she supports Roe v. Wade and that Obama promised pro-abortion judges during the presidential election.

Sotomayor has come under opposition from most pro-life groups because of all of the evidence showing she would likely support abortion on the high court.

They also point to her involvement in a pro-abortion group that repeatedly called on the Supreme Court to allow all abortions paid for at taxpayer expense.

Last month, Sotomayor made a comment during a meeting with one senator that also sent shockwaves throughout the pro-life community.

Senator Jim DeMint, a pro-life Republican from South Carolina, says he had a "good meeting" with the appeals court judge, but he came away with a telling comment.

"When I asked if an unborn child has any rights whatsoever, I was surprised that she said she had never thought about it," he said. "This is not just a question about abortion, but about respect due to human life at all stages — and I hope this is cleared up in her hearings."

Sotomayor has also come under fire for saying she regretted the adoption of a Congressional bill that prevented the Legal Services Corporation from spending taxpayer funds litigating in favor of abortion.

Two key pro-abortion senators have also said they think she will uphold unlimited abortions if confirmed to the high court.

Roe v. Wade, handed down in 1973 along with Doe v. Bolton, allowed abortions throughout pregnancy for virtually any reason and has resulted in more than 50 million abortions since then.

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