Kyl talks down filibuster, says GOP senators free to vote for Sotomayor

Despite having directed harsh criticisms toward her, Republicans don't expect to attempt to filibuster Judge Sonia Sotomayor's Supreme Court nomination, Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) said Monday.

Kyl, speaking ahead of hearings on Capitol Hill to evaluate Sotomayor's nomination, seemed to all but rule out a filibuster, citing a lack of votes to block the nomination.

"I don't think so," Kyl said on Fox News when asked if Republicans would try to put the votes together for a filibuster.

"Everyone is free to make their own judgment on this," added Kyl, whose job as whip includes counting and maintaining Republican votes on issues. "We are not going to do, as you said, what President Obama and Chairman Leahy did on the Alito nomination and try to successfully conduct a filibuster."

Kyl asserted Republicans "don't operate that way" when it comes to judicial nominations, but acknowledged that the GOP doesn't have enough votes to maintain a filibuster.

The Arizona Republican did, however, assert that independent voters were concerned by the Sotomayor nomination, adding that "the American people are looking skeptically at her nomination."

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