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As Sotomayor Debate Begins, Two More Announce Opposition

Updated 2:00 p.m.
By Paul Kane
Wyoming's senators announced Wednesday that they'll oppose the Supreme Court confirmation of Judge Sonia Sotomayor, while Sen. Christopher S. Bond (R-Mo.) became the seventh Republican to announce his support of her ahead of a roll-call vote, expected for Thursday or Friday.

Mike Enzi and John Barrasso's opposition leaves just three undeclared Senate Republicans: two former governors, Sens. Judd Gregg (N.H.) and George Voinovich (Ohio), and the daughter of a former governor, Sen. Lisa Murkowski

The two most recent GOP supporters of Sotomayor -- Bond and Sen. Lamar Alexander (Tenn.) -- have been governors, a role that may lend a different perspective on the executive branch and its prerogatives on judicial nominations.

"Elections have consequences," Bond said on the Senate floor. If conservatives want to block liberal judges from the federal courts, he added, they have to win at the ballot box, absent some disqualifying background for the nominee or a judicial philosophy that is far out of the mainstream.

Every Senate Democrat is expected to vote for Sotomayor, joined by a handful of Republican moderates and veterans, such as Sen. Richard Lugar (Ind.).

Like Bond, Gregg and Voinovich are retiring in 2010, making them immune from any conservative backlash from voters in future Republican primaries.

Gregg indicated to Capitol Briefing on Tuesday that his former executive-branch experience made him more likely to support the president's judicial appointments, seeming to hint that he would support Sotomayor. If Voinovich and Murkowski think the same way, Obama's first Supreme Court selection could receive a double-digit level of support from Republicans. Given the battering that bipartisanship has taken thus far in the Obama administration, that might qualify as something of a moral victory.

By Paul Kane  |  August 5, 2009; 12:37 PM ET
Categories:  Supreme Court  
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Departing members of Congress are not stupid. Many have future political plans and all are capable of counting the number of hispanic citizens in their state, and the number of future hispanic voters.

They realize Obama won the election, Sotomayor is super qualified and her life story is an American story.

The world has changed, the country has changed and these departing members of Congress recognize and accept that change.

Posted by: COWENS99 | August 5, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Good for him but not that surprising. Senate Republicans voted overwhelmingly for Sotomayor when Bush put her name forth.

Posted by: DROSE1 | August 5, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Are retiring Republicans the only ones not afraid of the NRA? Sad.

Posted by: mikeinmidland | August 5, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

What does it tell the public about the current Republican strategy when those Republican Senators who are NOT running for reelection are supporting Sotomayor, while their leadership is opposed "on principle"? Clearly the Republican strategy is just to oppose everything Obama wants to do - then they will argue that he failed to deliver the change he promised!

Posted by: SamBleicher | August 5, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

It will be interesting to see which Republicans want to become political martyrs for the Southern White Male Evangelical cause and which ones take their role as Senators seriously.

The Republican Party has devolved into an extremist right-wing racist corporate party. They may need to die a political death to be truly reborn. If their lucky, Palin will break out the worst of them to form the New American Fascist Party and the moderates that are left can regroup.

Posted by: thebobbob | August 5, 2009 2:37 PM | Report abuse don't matter if Sotomayor picked up another GOP vote or a STD...its just one liberal fruit replaceing another liberal fruit.

Posted by: JWx2 | August 5, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

The disturbing thing about the Republican furor over the wise Latina woman is that she is no liberal; she is a very conservative Catholic woman who will move the center of the Court even more to the right.

We are still waiting for Republicans to offer evidence for her presumed liberal leanings.

Carl Sagan said, "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."

At least alien abductees claim to have been present at their probings and, in that case, are witnesses, at least, which makes them marginally more credible.

Posted by: matthewjblack | August 6, 2009 9:51 AM | Report abuse

I guess the GOP senators that are listening and responding to what Hannity and Drugball have to say will find out the next time they come up for election that they will be done in Washington.

Posted by: SWAMPYPD | August 6, 2009 10:06 PM | Report abuse

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