Grassley: Sotomayor starts with 'clean slate'

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said he had a "positive" initial reaction to Judge Sotomayor's nomination to the Supreme Court, signaling an openness to President Obama's first Supreme Court nominee from the GOP.

Grassley, one of the top-ranking Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee -- which will first handle Sotomayor's nomination -- said that the judge will start with a "clean slate" going into her nomination vetting and hearings.

"I've got lots of thoughts," Grassley said during a regular press conference when asked about his initial reaction to the Sotomayor nomination. "They start out positive because I don't remember from a long time ago when she was nominated to be chief judge."

"A president is entitled to nominate who he wants to nominate," Grassley continued. "She does have a record for our review but, obviously, I'm just now today starting to look at that record and will be consulting with my staff on the key points that I ought to be reading about her there."

25 Senate Republicans crossed party lines to support Sotomayor's nomination in 1998, but Grassley wasn't one of them.

"So other than that, I would say she starts out with a clean slate," Grassley said.