Hatch won't vote for Sotomayor

For the first time during his tenure on Judiciary, the Utah Republican will vote against a SCOTUS nominee

By Alex Koppelman
July 24, 2009 8:01PM (UTC)
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Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, will vote against confirming Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court.

By itself, the news of a single Republican vote against Sotomayor wouldn't be particularly newsworthy -- there'll be plenty -- but Hatch is a former chairman of the Judiciary Committee, as well as someone who could have been expected to be flexible on the nomination. During his time on the committee, and he's spent more than a few years on it, he's never voted against a Supreme Court nominee.


Hatch's decision might have caused a procedural problem for the Judiciary Committee's Democrats, not to mention Sotomayor -- at least one Republican on the committee has to vote for her -- but Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., has already said he will vote to confirm Sotomayor.

"I entered into the confirmation process of Judge Sotomayor with the strong desire to vote in favor of her nomination," Hatch said in a statement. "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 ....

“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."

Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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