The Senate voted to confirm Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court today, making her the first Hispanic Supreme Court justice and just the third woman to sit on the court.
The 55-year-old Sotomayor, who was confirmed by a vote of 68-31, will be sworn in on Saturday at the Court.
Despite strong and vocal opposition from some Senate Republicans, nine GOP senators voted for her confirmation, more than the number of Democrats who supported Justice Samuel Alito, but fewer than the number who crossed party lines to support Chief Justice John Roberts.
One of the Rethug votes against was Captain Underpants. One of the Rethug votes for was Lindseypoo. Does this mean the end of the romance? Nah, they don’t know how to quit each other.
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Among them were four Republican senators who will be retiring at the end of 2010, including Sens. Kit Bond of Missouri, Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, Mel Martinez of Florida and George Voinovich of Ohio. Other GOP senators who cast an “aye” vote were Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Richard Lugar of Indiana, and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee.
All 59 Democrats who were present voted for Sotomayor.
From TOP OF THE TICKET at The Los Angeles Times (August 4, 2009):
He really likes federal Judge Sonia Sotomayor. Thinks she’s got an excellent resume. An inspiring life story. Heck, he even thinks she has the professional qualifications to be a Supreme Court justice.
But yesterday he took to the Senate floor to explain that he’s voting against her nomination. He suspects she’s one of those activists judges who will legislate from the bench.
“Regardless of one’s success in academics and in government service, an individual who does not appreciate the common-sense limitations on judicial power in our democratic system of government ultimately lacks a key qualification for a lifetime appointment to the bench,” McCain explained.
But if you’re a moron who can’t string 4 words together to form a proper sentence and quit almost every endeavor you attempt, then you’re qualified to be the Vice President of the United States! Would anyone reading this want Captain Underpants working in your Personnel Department in charge of hiring?
McCain is up for reelection next year in a state with an increasing Latino population, so the vote could spell trouble. In fact he went out of his way during Monday’s speech to note that he backed the nomination of Miguel Estrada to the federal appeals court, a Bush administration nomination ultimately pulled because of Democratic opposition.
Some of his best friends are Latino! Well, maybe not exactly friends, but some of his best gardeners at his multiple homes are Latino!
[The] National Rifle Assn. has for the first time weighed in on a judicial appointment, targeting Sotomayor as hostile to the 2nd Amendment and warning senators thinking about voting yes that the NRA will use that vote against them. The powerful gun lobby may have swayed McCain, along with Republicans on the Judiciary Committee, where South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham — ironically a key McCain ally — was the only Republican to back Sotomayor.
From Hotline On Call at National Review:
Pres. Obama said today that he was “very happy” with the 68-31 margin by which Sonia Sotomayor was confirmed to the SCOTUS. Nine GOPers broke to join a unanimous Dem conference — minus the ailing Ted Kennedy (D-MA) — to support the nominee.
But according to a CNN/ORG poll released yesterday, only 27% of GOPers said the Senate should confirm Sotomayor, while 58% of GOPers polled opposed the nomination. And just 22.5% of Senate GOPers eventually voted to confirm her.
How bipartisan was the vote? A closer look at which senators voted yes or no reveals that most who are seeking re-election or election to another office voted against Sotomayor’s nomination — among other interesting facts.
Of the GOP senators standing for re-election next year, all 12 voted against Sotomayor. Sens. Bob Bennett (UT) and John McCain (R-AZ) are facing primary challenges from conservative rivals. Although they have no declared challengers, Sens. Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and David Vitter (R-LA) may wish to preemptively discourage any potential primary opponents.
Of the seven GOPers likely to retire between now and ’10, four — Sens. Kit Bond (R-MO), Judd Gregg (NH), Mel Martínez (FL) and George Voinovich (OH) — voted yes. Retiring Sens. Sam Brownback (R-KS), Jim Bunning (R-KY) and Kay Bailey Hutchison voted no. Brownback and Hutchison intend to run for GOV in their respective states.
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Sens. Jim DeMint (R-SC) and John Thune (R-SD), mentioned as possible WH ’12 candidates, both voted no.
Of the four GOPers left in the Senate from the “Gang of 14” — the bipartisan group formed four years ago to prevent the so-called “nuclear option” from being invoked regarding Bush admin. judicial nominees — three voted for Sotomayor: Sens. Susan Collins (ME), Lindsey Graham (SC) and Olympia Snowe (ME). Only McCain voted no.
The only remaining senators (of nine total) to vote against Justice Stephen Breyer, Sen. Dick Lugar (R-IN), voted for Sotomayor. The three senators who voted against Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg are no longer in office.
Senators who voted for Breyer and Ginsburg but against Sotomayor included Senate Min. Leader Mitch McConnell, Sens. Thad Cochran (R-MS), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Bennett, Hutchison and McCain.
Grassley and Hatch, in their long tenures both in the Senate and on the Judiciary Cmte, had never voted against a SCOTUS nominee.
Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) holds the distinction of being the only senator to vote against both Robert Bork and Sonia Sotomayor. Shelby, a Dem then, converted to the GOP seven years after the Bork vote.
In states represented by GOPers whose ’08 electorate was more than 9% Hispanic — AZ (16%), FL (14%), NV (15%) and TX (20%) — only one out of six sens. (the retiring Martínez) voted for Sotomayor. Sen. John Ensign (R-NV), Senate Min. Whip Jon Kyl, NRSC Chair John Cornyn, Hutchison and McCain all voted against.
And just to make sure that Rethug heads were exploding across the land…from abcNEWS:
Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., was presiding over the Senate chamber this afternoon when the Senate voted 68-31 to confirm Judge Sonia Sotamayor as the nation’s first Latino Supreme Court justice.
Franken was Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s choice for the plum opportunity.
Franken, who gave his maiden Senate speech Wednesday in support of Sotomayor, seemed a bit flummoxed by Senate rules as the roll call began. But with some help from the parliamentarian, the vote commenced, and Sotamayor was easily confirmed, and Franken got to make the formal announcement.