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McConnell Says He'll Vote No on Sotomayor

By Paul Kane
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell announced today his opposition to Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor.

McConnell has signaled for the past seven weeks that he had serious concerns about speeches in which Sotomayor said a "wise Latina" would more often than not come up with better rulings than a white male judge, a line she delivered in five speeches over the last 15 years.

Sotomayor backed away from that opinion repeatedly under three days of questioning this week from the Senate Judiciary Committee, telling Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) Thursday that "I regret that I have offended some people" and that it was meant as an aspirational lift to young Latina lawyers.

McConnell did not address today the question of a filibuster, further evidence that Republicans do not plan any effort to defeat Sotomayor's elevation to the Supreme Court. Sen. Jeff Sessions (Ala.), the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, said Thursday that he would not support a filibuster effort against the first Hispanic nominee for the highest court in the nation.

Sotomayor will need just a simple majority of 50 or more votes, and all signs pointed toward a vote of well in excess of 60 votes -- the amount that would have been needed to beat back a filibuster -- for confirming her. Three Senate Repubilcans, none of whom are on the Judiciary Committee, announced todaythey will support her, and more are believed to be prepared to do the same.

The full statement from McConnell announcing his opposition is after the jump.

"From the beginning of this confirmation process, I've said that Americans expect one thing when they walk into a court room, whether it's a traffic court or the Supreme Court -- and that's equal treatment under the law. Over the years, Americans have accepted significant ideological differences in the kinds of men and women that various presidents have nominated to the Supreme Court. But one thing Americans will never tolerate in a nominee is a belief that some groups are more deserving of a fair shake than others. Nothing could be more offensive to the American sensibility than that. Judge Sotomayor is a fine person with an impressive story and a distinguished background. But above all else, a judge must check his or her personal or political agenda at the courtroom door and do justice even-handedly, as the judicial oath requires."

"Judge Sotomayor's record of written statements suggests an alarming lack of respect for the notion of equal justice, and therefore, in my view, an insufficient willingness to abide by the judicial oath. This is particularly important when considering someone for the Supreme Court since, if she were confirmed, there would be no higher court to deter or prevent her from injecting into the law the various disconcerting principles that recur throughout her public statements. For that reason, I will oppose her nomination."

"In her writings and in her speeches, Judge Sotomayor has repeatedly stated that a judge's personal experiences affect judicial outcomes. She has said her experiences will affect the facts that she chooses to see as a judge. She has argued that in deciding cases judges should bring their sympathies and prejudices to bear. She has dismissed the ideal of judicial impartiality as an 'aspiration' that, in her view, cannot be met even in most cases. Taken together, these statements suggest not just a sense that impartiality is not possible, but that it's not even worth the effort."

"Judge Sotomayor's record on the Second Circuit is troubling enough. But, as I said, at least on the Circuit Court, there's a backstop. Her cases can be reviewed by the Supreme Court. This meant that in the Ricci case, for example, the firefighters whose promotions were unfairly denied could appeal the decision. Fortunately for them, the Supreme Court sided with them over Judge Sotomayor. If, however, Judge Sotomayor were to become a Supreme Court Justice, there would be no backstop. Her rulings would be final. She'd be unencumbered by the obligation of lower court judges to follow precedent. She could act more freely on the kinds of views that animated her troubling and legally incorrect ruling in the Ricci case. That's not a chance I'm willing to take."

By Post Editor  |  July 17, 2009; 2:56 PM ET
Categories:  Supreme Court  
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What a shock! These Republicans make me ashamed to be a white guy.

Posted by: natinva | July 17, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

I am continually amazed at the number of older white men that are raising the issue of racism toward Sotomayor,, and are suddenly finding reason to want a society that does not recognize race as a criteria in any decisions since they are feeling the effects of what they preceive as reverse discrimination, not saying such is wrong,, but where were they when the civil rights laws were being passed to stop over racism that pervated the country yet aided the power and control they as white men exerted in all affairs of this country,,

and McConnell states that "But one thing Americans will never tolerate in a nominee is a belief that some groups are more deserving of a fair shake than others. Nothing could be more offensive to the American sensibility than that." or that But above all else, a judge must check his or her personal or political agenda at the courtroom door and do justice even-handedly. This is coming for an older white senator from a southern state that was known to enact Jim Crow Laws to deny equal rights and justice to large sections of its population,, and he is lecturing a socio economically disadvantaged immigrant latina for being racially insensitive remarks because he thinks they express support for minorities at the expense of a white majority is unseemly at best and bordering on the height of hypocrasy at its worst,,,

Posted by: EastCoastnLA | July 17, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

no one cares what mcconnell has to say.but he is walking talking proof of the special need program.

Posted by: donaldtucker | July 17, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

no one cares what mcconnell has to say.but he is walking talking proof of the special need program. and his vote doesnt mean a thing anymore the dems have the majority now.may he can use the 100s of millions he has for a little cosmetic surgery.

Posted by: donaldtucker | July 17, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Could someone please tell me how the Republicans could even think about a filibuster when they hold only 40 seats? I doubt that you could find 20 Democrats who would join a Republican filibuster, but barring that, I see no reason to give the Republicans any credit for not filibustering -- they can't!

As far as the "chinless wonder" goes, McConnell would block anything and everything that a Democrat would do. He is the epitome of the Southern branch of the party ono -- that branch that became Republicans over civil rights legislation. His hypocritical statements regarding racism are laughable when he comes from a region of the country that has -- and continues to try to (through excessive voting requirements and identification) -- practices racism for centuries.

Posted by: marmac5 | July 17, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

As will be the case on Supreme Court, Judge Sotomayor made the ruling in the Ricci case with other Judges. She did not make that decision alone as Mcconnell seems to imply . And as 1 member of the Supreme Court, she will also be making future rulings with others, not alone. And if she has been so very unfair in all her years of being a judge, why is the Ricci case the only example of her so called personal bias they can come up with?

Posted by: ctree | July 17, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

This should come as no surprise. It was obvious from the beginning that Mitch didn't have an open mind - surprise, surprise. The people that want the new justice to possess an open mind keep theirs closed. Go figure.

I cannot wait until 2010 so that we can remove a few more fossils from office.

Have a great weekend all!

Posted by: EarlC | July 17, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

I find MCConell's comments absolutely correct and I think it is about time Republicans voiced their opposition as
well as the opposition of their constituency to the nauseating liberal agenda of Obama and his clique. Sotomayor is not the best candidate for the Supreme Court.

Posted by: LSchlachter | July 17, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

I wonder how Mitch's Asian American wife feels about his clearly racist comments .

Posted by: jmsbh | July 17, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

I am frankly not surprised at the Republicans sheer hypocrisy and duplicity in their comments and questions.

Here is what Samuel Alito stated during his own confirmation hearings:

"Because when a case comes before me involving, let's say, someone who is an immigrant -- and we get an awful lot of immigration cases and naturalization cases -- I can't help but think of my own ancestors, because it wasn't that long ago when they were in that position.

...when I look at those cases, I have to say to myself, and I do say to myself, "You know, this could be your grandfather, this could be your grandmother. They were not citizens at one time, and they were people who came to this country."

When I have cases involving children, I can't help but think of my own children and think about my children being treated in the way that children may be treated in the case that's before me.

And that goes down the line. When I get a case about discrimination, I have to think about people in my own family who suffered discrimination because of their ethnic background or because of religion or because of gender. And I do take that into account. When I have a case involving someone who's been subjected to discrimination because of disability, I have to think of people who I've known and admire very greatly who've had disabilities, and I've watched them struggle to overcome the barriers that society puts up often just because it doesn't think of what it's doing -- the barriers that it puts up to them.

More troubling than his flat out statements that he would favor people of his ethnic background and/or disabled was his reasonably arguable application of those words in the Ricci case. Here is a case involving an Italian American plaintiff with dyslexia, and what a surprise, Alito voted on the side of this Plaintiff in a case that was won 5 to 4 by the Plaintiff! Should not this provoke at least an inquiry by the Republican hypocrites who allegedly cite truth and justice as reasons to not support Sotomayor?

McConnel's, Sessions, and their ilk demonstrate that no self respecting or intelligent female or Hispanic should ever have anything to do with the Republican party. It must be galling to these tenth rate intellects that this brilliant and accomplished woman who had no privilege or advantage is their clear superior in all respects.

Posted by: guadalupel | July 17, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

There should not be a lifetime appointment as a federal judge or to the Supreme Court of the United States.

The Supreme Court's hearings should be televised. I think the American People have a right to access in this manner.

Our elected officials continually 'drop the ball' when it comes to the simple welfare of Americans.

Posted by: jrickperryjr | July 17, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Could someone please tell me how the Republicans could even think about a filibuster when they hold only 40 seats? I doubt that you could find 20 Democrats who would join a Republican filibuster...
Posted by: marmac5 | July 17, 2009 3:39 PM
I think you have it mixed up. Sixty votes are not needed to filibuster but for cloture, which ends debate. So only 41 votes are essentially needed to prevent cloture, or have a filibuster.

Posted by: RambleOn | July 17, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

And here I thought Jim Bunning was the only senile senator from Kentucky.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | July 17, 2009 5:15 PM | Report abuse

McConnell is about as relevant as katherine harris.
Who cares how he votes, he is a two faced fraud, and should be investigated for his Wife's lobbying efforts on behalf of corporations that have pending legislation before congress.
Mitch is nothing more than your typical anti everyone who is not GOP.
This is why the GOP is in total chaos.
he is truly an ugly American.

Posted by: MadAmerican | July 17, 2009 5:44 PM | Report abuse

The Hispanic voting block will not forget the Republican senate leader (and party mouthpiece) is clearly closed minded and discriminates against them - merely for being Hispanic.

Enjoy the next elections Repubs.

Posted by: Leofwine | July 17, 2009 5:58 PM | Report abuse

I _never_ expect equal treatment under the law in a court. And I'm usually unsurprised. I don't know what world Sen. McConnell is living in. It isn't this one.

Posted by: gbooksdc | July 17, 2009 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Who is Mitch McConnell? An actor, baseball player? Never heard of Mitch McConnell.

Posted by: kubrickstan | July 17, 2009 6:24 PM | Report abuse

after reading these comments. i rest my case, no one cares what this guy has to say.

Posted by: donaldtucker | July 17, 2009 6:39 PM | Report abuse

I for one am getting tired of the media giving so much airtime to what Republicans are thinking. Who cares? Why don't we ask the Reform party and the Green party what they think while we're at it.

Posted by: g9fool | July 17, 2009 6:53 PM | Report abuse

Mitch McConnell has been a stalwart figure fighting for the most oppressed and aggrieved members of society his whole life. Those poor Southern Christian whites. The system has been stacked again them for a couple of centuries. They'd do great if they didn't suffer discrimination and the curse of low expectations. Keep up the good fight Mitch.

Posted by: thebobbob | July 17, 2009 7:00 PM | Report abuse

McConell will be retired soon. Same with all of the other baby-boom dinosaurs wrecking our national progress.


Posted by: onestring | July 17, 2009 7:10 PM | Report abuse

I for one was surprised at Kyl's attacks coming from a state with a significant hispanic population. I guess he makes amends by voting yes. Sessions needs to vote no to stay in office, so maybe another generation must pass before "good ole boy" is part of history as it's happening from Virginia to Arizona. Prey on prejudice in VA and you are dogmeat. We are striving for the more perfect union and Sotomayor is part of it.

Posted by: jameschirico | July 17, 2009 7:46 PM | Report abuse

How can Sotomayor be racially biased when she's not white?

Besides, she's going to win, so Neener Neener Neener.

As Lenin said, the eternal question is "Who? Whom?"

Posted by: SteveSailer | July 17, 2009 8:24 PM | Report abuse

You're in good hands with Allstate.

Like a good neighbor State Farm is there.

Racists have a BFF with Mitch.

Posted by: mdpilot | July 17, 2009 8:30 PM | Report abuse

As if their immigration grandstanding isn't enough, now they want to claim a proud, esteemed Puerto Rican woman will be the downfall of our judicial system. After the 2010 election, Republicans will be scratching their heads, wondering why hispanics don't vote for them anymore. Wise latins know better.

Posted by: danw1 | July 17, 2009 8:31 PM | Report abuse

What a buffoon.

No doubt the teabaggers will think he's a hero.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 17, 2009 8:43 PM | Report abuse

So ol' Mitch was bothered by the (taken completely out of context by the bigots) "wise Latina" comment, but nary a word about Sessions "crack cocaine" comment (that he then had to explain)?

Shows a little about how the bigoted mind of Southern "good ol' boys" works, and it's not a very pretty picture.

Posted by: critter69 | July 18, 2009 2:05 AM | Report abuse

Let's have the courage to admit it. To get Mitch McConnell's yes vote for a Supreme Court nominee, President Obama would have to nominate Attila the Hun, GWBush or Dick Cheney. His vote isn't worth that, not now and not ever.

Posted by: dsrobins | July 18, 2009 3:02 AM | Report abuse

Well stated, Mitch McConnell!

Posted by: lalo60 | July 18, 2009 6:06 AM | Report abuse

As a consolation prize for being on the wrong side of history and to celebrate 1) the appointment of a second woman to the Court and 2) the 50th anniversary of Lady Day's death, send this poor downtrodden white man a copy of her song 'Bitter Fruit'.

Posted by: expatriot1 | July 18, 2009 7:05 AM | Report abuse

"Fortunately for them, the Supreme Court sided with them over Judge Sotomayor." Sotomayor did the honorable thing, which was to apply existing law narrowly to the issue brought to the court. The Rightwing Supreme Activists made new law, tossing out precedent. The Roberts majority is a catastrophe for the rule of law in America.

Posted by: frodot | July 18, 2009 7:15 AM | Report abuse

Senator McConell is an old idiot. I never could figure out what this guy stands for other than the glorious ‘Good old ways of the south’. One thing is certain. This wise Latino woman is wiser and smarter than this fellow, any time. No matter how good the old days were, time has marched on, and the genies will not go back into the bottles. His attitude towards Judge Sotomayor is stupid at best, and pure old man racism at worst. This is the next guy who needs to be returned to oblivion like Bush is.

Posted by: samchannar | July 18, 2009 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Since McConell is NOT relevant who cares how he votes??

Posted by: rbaldwin2 | July 18, 2009 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Republicans express concern that Sotomayor cannot function effectively on the Supreme Court because of a comment she made in a handful of speeches made over the course of a decade. Note these were speeches made outside of her role as a judge.

Funny how these Senators haven't called for Mark Sandford's resignation after he abandoned the state of South Carolina for 5 days to visit his mistress.

So a remark taken out of context is a deal breaker in the Sotomayor confirmation, yet Sanford who actually defaulted on his responsibilities as a governor is a "private matter," best not discussed.

The 'Good ol' boys network' is clearly alive and well.

Posted by: HylasBrook | July 18, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

I am curious to know if Mitch supports the views of Pat Buchanan.

Republicans everywhere should come out in opposition to the white supremist comments by Pat Bucnahan on MSNBC Thursday. If Republicans let such language stand, they will sink farther into the cesspool of hate politics and irrelevance.

I think that I hear taps for the Republican party (and Pat Buchanan and Ann Coulter - you remember Ann Coulter of the Democratice Party doesn't have the right to exist fame).

Posted by: EarlC | July 18, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Imagine that Mitch O'Connell is opposed to a minority candidate! As a 65 year old white guy who has promoted affirmative action for the last 30 years I resent being grouped with O'Connell. He belongs in a group of racists like Pat Buchanon and company. Question-why do you give space to the the dissenters and practically no space to those who support the judge? Is the Post going racists now that it has become a right leaning pub?

Posted by: cdierd1944 | July 18, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Sotomayor is an accomplished American and does not fit the stereotype Hispanic role. She learned English, studied hard, respects (and upholds) the laws -- all opposite of many Hispanics who come to USA (legally and especially, illegally).

If she is a true model for Hispanics, they would all start by learning the established language here and get a good education. Same opportunities as given to all Americans and all ethnic groups.

It's time to stop the stereotype of Sotomayor having Hispanic heritage. She might help Hispanics, but in no way inspires them.

Posted by: noozhour | July 18, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Ms. McConnell likes to dress up as a Southern Belle when she says no.

Palin/Jingles Jindal 2012

Posted by: adevine1 | July 18, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

I agree completely with the person above who pointed out that the media gives far too much airtime to republicans' non-representative views (especially given the fact the media never, ever points out the dishonesty or at least inaccuracy of these views). Another example would be healthcare coverage, where Republicans are simply (and obviously) trying to derail any reform. Fortunately, their efforts to derail Sotomayor will fail.

Posted by: dougd1 | July 18, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

With the remarks of Pat Buchannan and Sen. McConnel we may have seen the watershed moment when even Republicans reject the Republican Party. Seventeen good years on the bench mean nothing - her "Wise Latina" phrase means everything? It wasn't the smartest thing ever said, but in itself it does not define Sotomayor as racist. What does is the Republican's finding fault with all but white men. This is definitely the beginning of the end of this once meaningful, if often misguided party. The rise in its replacement will be like the Libertarian Party. We actually need two parties, if only to see how well one is doing.

Posted by: lswonder | July 18, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

"From the beginning of this confirmation process, I've said that Americans expect one thing when they walk into a court room, whether it's a traffic court or the Supreme Court -- and that's equal treatment under the law."
Oh sure, McConnel like your GOP slanted Judges who appointed Bush president in 2000!

Posted by: lufrank1 | July 18, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

I wonder how Mitch's Asian American wife feels about his clearly racist comments .

Posted by: jmsbh
Haven't you heard? They are the quintessential "White Girls', when so inclined. So, everything is surely fine on McConnells home front.b

Posted by: bldlcc | July 18, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Please, don't forget Sotomayor's nomination and confirmation hearing is a political decision. Politics is a plain number game. Either you have it or you don't. All else is lots of talk only. So relax and enjoy a baseball game on tv.

Posted by: pastorstarrpak | July 18, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Senator McConnell is now irrelevant. He can continue saying No for the next five and a half years of his political existence.

Posted by: truth1 | July 18, 2009 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Can someone point to the national outrage surrounding Alito's confirmation and his unsuitability for the position because of his references to allowing his experiences as the son of Italian immigrants to guide his decisions? I'm having troubles turning anything up.

Posted by: washpost18 | July 18, 2009 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Sotomayor does not need your stinky vote, but the Republican party might need millions of Hispanics votes including mine.

Posted by: kulteacher | July 19, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

McConnell is a perfect example of communist infiltration and the red party. Agree on nothing, rock the boat and waste as much time and money as you can. A minimum guide line for the supreme court needs to be established. The net picking needs to stop, to much time and money are being wasted. Sotomayor might not be perfect, but the FBI and her established record say she's alright, and she is a judge, so whats the big deal? Vote McConnell out come election time, lets get some of the stench out of our government.

Posted by: kimkimminni1 | July 20, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

OH, WOW! I thought there was no question McConnell would vote FOR Judge Sotomayor. McConnell's alzheimers must be advancing more quickly than we thought.

Posted by: dick-x | July 20, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Is Sen. McConnell basing his judgment on sound evidence and solid reasoning using the law of the land as his guide?

Or is he injecting bias? Bias based on his personal experience as a white male Republican Senator from a Southern state?

I'm thankful for his vote. She'll be confirmed despite the unreasoned opposition. And it reminds me how much work we have to do to construct a reasonable democracy.

Posted by: drcalm | July 20, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Figgers, don't it. Mitch thinks that better than a "wise latina" a dumb shrub
'd be better. Give 'im hell, mitch.

Posted by: josfnet | July 20, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

I am unsure exactly which descriptive word to use to describe McConnell. But alas, he may be both a racist and an ideologue. He expresses completely different rules for approval of a Democratic nominee than he did for the Bush nominees. But this hearing has been an object lesson in Republican racism. Right before the entire country, my party members in the minority showed their total disregard for the principal ideals of equality and justice. Republicans will pay for this at the ballot box because they can no longer assume they have a lock on Hispanic votes after their treatment of this eminantly ualified nominee.

Posted by: mJJ2 | July 20, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

i'm certain that the dinosaurs voted against the ice-age as well, but it didn't do 'em a lot of good did it?

Posted by: wa_idaho_lonewolf | July 20, 2009 6:59 PM | Report abuse

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