Graham: Sotomayor 'within the mainstream'

Judge Sonia Sotomayor is "within the mainstream" of jurists, a key Republican senator in her confirmation battle said Monday night.

"She's been a judge for 12 years, and when you look at her opinions, she's left of center but within the mainstream," Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said during an appearance on Fox News.

The comments come after a day in which Graham seemed to indicate some support for President Obama's choice to join the Supreme Court, marking a break with more conservative members of the GOP in the Senate -- including Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.).

Sessions said Sotomayor is "outside the mainstream" Monday morning during an appearance on CBS.

Indeed, "mainstream" was one of the top buzzwords during yesterday's opening day of hearings before the Judiciary Committee on Sotomayor's nomination.

"Her record shows that she is in the mainstream," Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Sotomayor's guide through the confirmation proceedings, said during his opening statement on Monday. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) also praised the nominee's "mainstream legal reasoning" -- before being interrupted by protesters.

Graham gave Sotomayor some other Republican cover yesterday when he told the federal judge she'll likely be confirmed by the Senate, barring a "complete meltdown."