Cornyn, Hatch to oppose Sotomayor

Two Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee announced today that they will vote against Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) both claim that Sotomayor's judicial philosophy is too outside the mainstream for the Supreme Court.

"[Sotomayor's] speeches contain very radical ideas on what the role of a judge is," Cornyn said. "In her speeches, she said: there is no objectivity in law; courts should change the law to make new policy; and ethnicity and gender can and even should impact a judge's decisionmaking."

"The stakes are simply too high for me to confirm someone who could address all these issues from a liberal, activist perspective," he continued.

Hatch a former chairman of the Judiciary Committee who has had a hand in numerous confirmation battles, said he wished he could vote for the first Hispanic Supreme Court justice but found Sotomayor's philosophy unacceptable.

"The prospect of a woman of Puerto Rican heritage serving on the Supreme Court brought great excitement to me and says a lot about America," Hatch said. "However, after thoroughly reviewing Judge Sotomayor's record and being able to hear her testimony and responses during the hearing process, I reluctantly, and with a heavy heart, have found that I cannot support her nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court."

In some ways, Cornyn's decision isn't a surprise: He's a top ranking Republican and one of the most conservative members of the Judiciary Committee.

On the other hand, the Texas Republican comes from a state with a big (and growing) Latino population. It's undoubtedly troubling for Cornyn to risk alienating such a large swath of voters.

Despite his decision to oppose Sotomayor, Cornyn acknowledged that she would likely be confirmed anyway.

"I will vote with the certain knowledge that she will be confirmed despite my vote," Cornyn lamented. "I wish her well. I congratulate her on her historic achievement. I know she will be an inspiration to young people--within the Hispanic community and beyond.

Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), the second ranking Republican in the Senate and a fellow Judiciary Committee members, has also announced his intention to oppose Sotomayor. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is the only Republican on the Judiciary Committee to come out in favor of Sotomayor so far.