Congratulations to Justice Sonia Sotomayor

The Senate confirmed Sonia Sotomayor as an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court today by a vote of 68 to 31. As expected, Iowa's senators split, with Tom Harkin voting yes and Chuck Grassley voting no.

Nine Republicans voted to confirm Sotomayor: Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine, Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, Richard Lugar of Indiana, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Mel Martinez of Florida, George Voinovich of Ohio, and Kit Bond of Missouri. Bond, Gregg, Martinez and Voinovich have already announced plans to retire in 2010.

Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey warned yesterday that the GOP will pay a political price for opposing Sotomayor.

The two independents who caucus with Democrats (Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and Bernie Sanders of Vermont) supported Sotomayor, as did all Senate Democrats who were present today (Ted Kennedy was absent). That's a blow to Republicans, who had hoped that getting the National Rifle Association to make Sotomayor's confirmation a scorecard issue would frighten a few gun-friendly Democrats into voting no. That would have changed the media narrative into "Democrats and Republicans divided over Sotomayor as she joins the Supreme Court."

Although Max Baucus of Montana flirted with voting no on Sotomayor, he came around fairly quickly. I liked this comment from pro-gun Democrat Mark Warner of Virginia:

"I'm very disappointed. [NRA seems] to be going beyond their Second Amendment issues, particularly when I think the judge's positions on those issues are still fairly open," Warner said. "I trust in her judgment and temperament. I think the NRA at some point has gone beyond its mission, and are perhaps allowing themselves to get hijacked by those who are in the extreme."

That hijacking occurred long ago.

Share any thoughts about Justice Sotomayor or the Supreme Court in this thread. I want to again express my gratitude to Justice John Paul Stevens for staying healthy all these years and to Justice David Souter for sticking it out long after he wanted to retire.

Now that Republicans have shown that they will largely oppose even a moderate, corporate-friendly judge like Sotomayor, I would like to see Obama nominate a fire-breathing liberal the next time a Supreme Court vacancy comes up.

  • Good for Warner!

    Reading about him and his sensible statements bring out some bitter memories.  I still have the remains of the (likely first in Iowa) "Warner for President" bumper sticker I had on my car.  I think he would have been better able to deliver the kind of bipartisan "change we can believe in" that Obama ended up selling... - Well, I guess he may still be around come 2016.

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