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Sen. Alexander Becomes Highest-Ranking Republican to Back Sotomayor

By Perry Bacon Jr.
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), the No. 3 Republican in the party's Senate leadership, announced on Thursday that he will vote to confirm Sonia Sotomayor for the U.S. Supreme Court, making him the highest-ranking member of the party to endorse her.

The decision was a bit of a suprise, as most of the Republican senators who have announced how they will vote have said they will oppose her, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) And while some of the Republicans who have backed Sotomayor are considered moderates, Alexander has been a strong critic of many of President Obama's policies.

"Even though Judge Sotomayor's political and judicial philosophy may be different than mine, especially regarding Second Amendments rights," Alexander said on the Senate floor, "I will vote to confirm her because she is well qualified by experience, temperament, character and intellect to serve as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court."

In his speech, Alexander criticized Obama for opposing President George W. Bush's two Supreme Court nominees, and he framed his own decision as a move "to help to return the Senate to the practice only recently lost of inquiring diligently into qualifications of a nominee and then accepting that elections have consequences, one of which is to confer upon the president the constitutional right to nominate justices of the Supreme Court of the United States."

By Perry Bacon Jr.  |  July 30, 2009; 11:01 AM ET
Categories:  Senate , Supreme Court , Votes  
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Politicians can be corrupted more or less (the range is huge) on any level. Politicians might show more or less of basic common sense by their behavior on any level and in any political party. It is really interesting how the full senate would vote. I think that such voting procedure should be anonimous, as, for example, Supreme Courts often vote anonimously.

Posted by: aepelbaum | July 30, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

I just regained a little faith in the Republican Party.


Posted by: jimarush | July 30, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Bit of a slap against Obama, when most observers trace the decline and fall of Senate Supreme Court confirmations to earlier battles (Bork, Thomas) long before he was in the Senate. Also, it's worth noting the Democratic Senators, in the spirit of Senator Alexander's comments, did split down the middle on Roberts, giving him 22 Democratic votes.

But still, I think this is great and I applaud Senator Alexander as well as the other five Republican Senators who have been so moved.

Posted by: fairfaxvoter | July 30, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

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