Gregg Latest GOP Senator to Support Sotomayor

Posted August 5, 2009 at 6:26pm

Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), one of Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) chief lieutenants and a fierce partisan on economic issues, announced Wednesday evening that he will vote for Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor.

In a floor speech, Gregg, who is retiring next year, noted that while he may not agree with her judicial philosophy, he believes she is qualified to be a Supreme Court justice.

“Although Judge Sotomayor and I may not see eye-to-eye on all issues or share the same political ideologies, our democratic system should allow for such differences.

“Judge Sotomayor is President [Barack] Obama’s choice, and she is obviously well-qualified to be the next associate justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. Her views and decisions, although strongly stated, are certainly not out of the mainstream of American jurisprudence or political thought. She has an impressive background, academic record and legal experience. During her confirmation hearings, Judge Sotomayor said that she would impartially uphold the law based on the facts presented to her and rejected the view that personal empathy should somehow shape a judge’s decisions,— Gregg said.

“Ultimately, my decision comes down to qualifications. I will vote to confirm Judge Sotomayor, because in my judgment, she is qualified to serve on the Supreme Court,— he added.

Gregg, who was Obama’s one-time pick to be Commerce secretary before he withdrew from consideration, is the eighth Senate Republican to back Sotomayor so far. He joins Republican Conference Chairman Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), Kit Bond (Mo.), Dick Lugar (Ind.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Mel Martinez (Fla.) and Maine’s Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins. The entire Democratic Conference is expected to support the nomination when it comes up for a vote, perhaps Thursday.

Gregg’s support for Sotomayor is particularly surprising, given his rocky relationship with the Obama administration — after accepting a nomination to become Commerce secretary, he later withdrew his name. This weekend, Gregg accused Obama’s policies of driving the country into becoming a “Banana Republic.—