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."
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