Sessions: Sotomayor vote by recess doubtful

Sen. Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsFederal judge rules Trump defunding sanctuary cities 'unconstitutional on its face' FBI informant gathered years of evidence on Russian push for US nuclear fuel deals, including Uranium One, memos show Alabama election has GOP racing against the clock MORE, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Monday he doubted a final vote on Sonia Sotomayor could be held before the congressional recess in August, a day before the Supreme Court nominee visits Capitol Hill.

Sessions (Ala.) said he planned to consult with Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyLawmakers, celebs honor Tony Bennett with Library of Congress Gershwin Prize Dem senator jokes: 'Moment of weakness' led me to share photo comparing Trump, Obama Leahy presses Trump court nominee over LGBTQ tweets MORE (D-Vt.) on a schedule for Sotomayor’s confirmation hearings, but repeatedly said he disagrees with the need for the process to conclude by the end of July. The Obama administration is urging a vote before August to allow Sotomayor the chance to be ready for the Court’s October work session.

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But Sessions noted that retiring Justice David Souter has pledged to stay on the bench until October, and that Sotomayor’s 17-year record as a judge is longer than previous nominees like Samuel Alito and will take more time to scrutinize.

“I don’t favor that,” Sessions said of a final vote in late July. “Justice Souter has given us plenty of time, and this nominee has, I think, 3,600 cases, and probably more that have to be looked at and thought about. It’s the only opportunity the American people have.

“Every president always pushes to have these votes fast… There’s plenty of time after the August recess to have a confirmation before October, and that would be my preference.”

Sessions had said previously — before Obama announced Sotomayor as his nominee — that a final Senate vote before August would be difficult.

Sotomayor is scheduled to meet with several Senate leaders on Tuesday, including Sessions, Leahy, Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidVirginia was a wave election, but without real change, the tide will turn again Top Lobbyists 2017: Grass roots Boehner confronted Reid after criticism from Senate floor MORE (D-Nev.), Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellAlabama election has GOP racing against the clock McConnell PAC demands Moore return its money Klobuchar taking over Franken's sexual assault bill MORE (R-Ky.), Majority Whip Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinQuestions loom over Franken ethics probe GOP defends Trump judicial nominee with no trial experience Democrats scramble to contain Franken fallout  MORE (D-Ill.), Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), Democratic Conference Vice Chairman Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerJuan Williams: The politics of impeachment Texas Republicans slam White House over disaster relief request Dem rep: Trump disaster aid request is 'how you let America down again' MORE (D-N.Y.), Judiciary Committee member Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchProminent conservative passes on Utah Senate bid Republicans offer this impossible choice: Tax cuts or senior care Senate GOP running out of options to stop Moore MORE (R-Utah), California Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinFive things to know about the elephant trophies controversy The feds need to be held accountable for role in Russia scandal Lawyer: Kushner is 'the hero' in campaign emails regarding Russia MORE (D) and New York Sen. Kristen Gillibrand (D).

Sessions said he wants to just get to know Sotomayor, and that his 1998 vote against Sotomayor for a circuit judgeship does not automatically mean he will oppose her this year. He made reference to a 2001 Sotomayor speech which critics have said proves she would be biased toward minorities, but strongly disagreed with critics such as former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who has called Sotomayor a racist.

“She deserves an opportunity to deal with the complaints against her, to express her explanations for various things that you see in the papers today,” Sessions said. “I do think that it is very important that anybody who serves on the U.S. Supreme Court be committed to faithfully following the law, that they are objective, and that they call the balls and strikes no matter what team is on the field, and they don’t favor one team over another. There are some things that have been raised that we need to explore.”