By J. Taylor Rushing - 07/27/09 07:47 PM EDT
Republican opposition to Sonia Sotomayor has solidified over the past week and it is likely that most GOP senators will reject her nomination to the Supreme Court.
A review by The Hill of recent media statements by Republican senators finds that 14 of the conference’s 40 members are opposed to the nomination, five support her and 21 have not indicated which way they will vote.
President Obama’s choice for the Supreme Court is far from endangered, however. Most, if not all, Democrats are expected to approve her nomination and Republicans have vowed not to mount a filibuster.
The five GOP yes votes on Sotomayor are expected from Sens. Susan CollinsSusan CollinsGun-control supporters plan next steps versus NRA House Republicans pushing gun control bill The Trail 2016: Berning embers MORE and Olympia Snowe of Maine, Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamGun-control supporters plan next steps versus NRA Bipartisan gun measure survives test vote Senate Republicans may defy NRA on guns MORE (S.C.), Richard Lugar (Ind.) and Mel Martinez (Fla.). Graham is alone among the seven Republicans on the Judiciary Committee in announcing support for Sotomayor. Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo.) has said he will “probably” vote for Sotomayor.
Expected GOP “no” votes on Sotomayor will likely come from Jeff SessionsJeff SessionsTrump hopes for boost from Brexit vote GOP senators: Brexit vote a wake-up call Sessions warns of 'radical' Clinton immigration policy MORE (Ala.), Bob Bennett (Utah), Sam Brownback (Kan.), Jim Bunning (Ky.), Thad CochranThad CochranWeek ahead: GOP to unveil ObamaCare replacement plan Senate panel breaks with House on cuts to IRS Overnight Healthcare: GOP ObamaCare plan to leave out key dollar figures | States get help to hold line on premiums MORE (Miss.), John CornynJohn CornynGun-control supporters plan next steps versus NRA Senate to vote on two gun bills Senate Dems rip GOP on immigration ruling MORE (Texas), Orrin HatchOrrin HatchMedicare trust fund running out of money fast Long past time to fix evidence-sharing across borders Overnight Tech: Facebook's Sandberg comes to Washington | Senate faces new surveillance fight | Warren enters privacy debate MORE (Utah), James InhofeJames InhofeEPA proposes climate rule incentives despite court hold GOP chairman: EPA could ‘restructure every industrial sector’ GOP in disarray over Trump furor MORE (Okla.), Jon Kyl (Ariz.), Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellSunday shows preview: Next steps after Trump upheaval Gun-control supporters plan next steps versus NRA McConnell: Trump needs to act like a 'serious candidate' MORE (Ky.), Pat RobertsPat RobertsUSDA extends comment period for 'certified organic' animal rule Senate contradicts itself on Gitmo GOP senators propose sending ISIS fighters to Gitmo MORE (Kan.), John ThuneJohn ThuneRepublicans question Trump's trip to Scotland Short-term FAA bill would likely extend into next year, GOP chairman says Civil liberties group mobilizes against surveillance amendment MORE (S.D.) and Roger WickerRoger WickerRubio will run for reelection Lawmakers push first responder network on rural service Senate GOP deeply concerned over Trump effect MORE (Miss.). Sen. Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyDozens of senators push EPA for higher ethanol mandate Civil liberties group mobilizes against surveillance amendment Brother may I? Congress must reform senseless drug regulation MORE (Iowa) will also oppose her, the Des Moines Register reported Monday evening.
The vote is still not expected to be as partisan as the last Supreme Court nomination, that of Samuel Alito in January 2006. Only four Democrats supported Alito — the party was in the minority at the time — with all 40 others opposed. By contrast, Democrats were evenly split, 22-22, in September 2005 on the nomination of John Roberts to be the court’s chief justice.
Sessions said on Monday that the floor vote will be more controversial than the vote on Roberts.
“One reason is pretty obvious: John Roberts was sent from central casting to be chief justice,” Sessions said. “Her [Sotomayor’s] philosophy of judging, as expressed over a decade and in speeches, is not consistent with the American ideal of justice. It’s just not. That’s why she backtracked so dramatically at the hearing, because the administration probably felt the American public wouldn’t be happy with that. It’s not that she’s an evil person. She’s just bought into a certain approach.
He added, “But I’m not counting votes. I have not twisted any arms, and neither has Sen. McConnell or anyone else. We know [Tuesday] she’ll come out of the committee and be on the floor in a few days. The president does deserve some deference, even though President Obama gave almost no deference to Roberts and Alito.”
The National Rifle Association (NRA) has announced its intention to include the Sotomayor vote in future scorecards of legislators’ voting records. In a letter to McConnell and Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidSay NO to PROMESA, say NO to Washington overreach Overnight Finance: Wall Street awaits Brexit result | Clinton touts biz support | New threat to Puerto Rico bill? | Dodd, Frank hit back McConnell quashes Senate effort on guns MORE (D-Nev.) last week, the NRA cited two controversial decisions in Sotomayor’s past: Maloney v. Cuomo, in which she ruled the Second Amendment did not apply to state and local governments, and United States v. Sanchez-Villar, in which she ruled that gun ownership is not a fundamental right.
“We believe any individual who does not agree that the Second Amendment guarantees a fundamental right and who does not respect our God-given right of self-defense should not serve on any court, much less the highest court in the land,” the NRA’s letter reads. “Given the importance of this issue, the vote on Judge Sotomayor’s confirmation will be considered in NRA’s future candidate evaluations.”
The NRA provided The Hill with its top “scorers” who were up in the 2008 cycle. They include Sessions, Saxby ChamblissSaxby ChamblissWyden hammers CIA chief over Senate spying Cruz is a liability Inside Paul Ryan’s brain trust MORE (R-Ga.), Jim RischJim RischOvernight Defense: Senate rejects new FBI surveillance powers | Brexit vote looms | Push for new military aid deal with Israel Senators push vote to condemn Russia's 'reckless actions' Overnight Finance: Senate taking up Puerto Rico bill this month | Dems attack SEC chief | House votes to limit IRS donor data MORE (R-Idaho), Roberts, McConnell, Cochran, Wicker, Max BaucusMax BaucusWyden unveils business tax proposal College endowments under scrutiny The chaotic fight for ObamaCare MORE (D-Mont.), Mike JohannsMike JohannsTo buy a Swiss company, ChemChina must pass through Washington Republican senator vows to block nominees over ObamaCare co-ops Revisiting insurance regulatory reform in a post-crisis world MORE (R-Neb.), Inhofe, Graham, Tim JohnsonTim JohnsonFormer GOP senator endorses Clinton after Orlando shooting Housing groups argue Freddie Mac's loss should spur finance reform On Wall Street, Dem shake-up puts party at crossroads MORE (D-S.D.), Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderBipartisan gun measure survives test vote Overnight Healthcare: GOP plan marks new phase in ObamaCare fight Stoddard: The great Trump rebellion MORE (R-Tenn.), Cornyn, Mark WarnerMark WarnerDrone use growing in surprising ways Overnight Cybersecurity: Pentagon cyber operations in the spotlight Lawmakers sound alarm over decaying Memorial Bridge MORE (D-Va.), Mike EnziMike EnziJudd Gregg: The silver lining Judd Gregg: A little change Lobbying World MORE (R-Wyo.) and John BarrassoJohn BarrassoGOP senator: Obama ‘believes he is above the law’ Republican senator expects Trump will 'embrace' GOP platform Sunday shows preview: Bernie soldiers on MORE (R-Wyo.).
A CNN/Opinion Research Inc. poll released on Friday found that 47 percent of respondents favored Sotomayor for the court, with 40 percent opposed and 13 percent uncertain. The poll was conducted June 26-28 and included 1,026 U.S. adults, with a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.
This article was updated on July 28 at 10:55 a.m.
Bob Cusack, Michael M. Gleeson and Kiera McCaffrey contributed to this article.