Hatch, Cornyn to Oppose Sotomayor

Posted July 24, 2009 at 11:06am

Judiciary Committee Republican Sens. Orrin Hatch (Utah) and John Cornyn (Texas) announced Friday that they will oppose the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court, dealing a blow to Democratic hopes of having a strong bipartisan vote for President Barack Obama’s first high court pick.In a statement released by Hatch’s office, the veteran Republican said he has decided to vote against her nomination “reluctantly.— Hatch and Cornyn had been seen as potential yes’ votes on the Judiciary Committee, set to vote on the nomination Tuesday.“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,— Hatch said. “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.—Democrats had hoped that Cornyn and Hatch, one of the GOP’s most respected voices on judicial matters, would support Sotomayor and, in so doing, help lure other Republicans to vote yes.’ Cornyn is the National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman and represents a state with a large Latino population.In a floor speech Friday, Cornyn leveled harsh criticism against Sotomayor, arguing that she was evasive during her confirmation hearings and did not assuage his concerns over her judicial philosophy.“I will vote against confirmation of Judge Sotomayor to be an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States,— Cornyn said. “I will vote with the certain knowledge that she will be confirmed despite my vote. I wish her well. I congratulate her on her historic achievement. I know she will be an inspiration to young people — within the Hispanic community and beyond.—And Cornyn once again raised the failed nomination of Miguel Estrada by former President George W. Bush for the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.“I remain deeply frustrated by the treatment of Miguel Estrada for the D.C. Court of Appeals. He was filibustered seven times and refused an up-or-down vote because many Senators shared my view that had he been confirmed he could have been the first Hispanic nominated to serve on our nation’s highest court,— Cornyn lamented in his floor speech. “Instead, that honor goes to the nominee we have before us — Judge Sonia Sotomayor.—Republicans repeatedly raised Estrada’s nomination during Sotomayor’s confirmation process, a tactic clearly designed to blunt any accusations that their opposition to Sotomayor was based on her ethnicity.Cornyn joins fellow GOP leaders Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), Minority Whip Jon Kyl (Ariz.) and Policy Committee Chairman John Thune (S.D.) in opposing Sotomayor’s nomination. Kyl is also a member of the Judiciary Committee.A number of Republicans have already endorsed Sotomayor, including Sens. Dick Lugar (Ind.); Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, both of Maine; Mel Martinez (Fla.); and Lindsey Graham (S.C.), also a Judiciary member. Graham has come under fire from conservatives for his support.