It’s Sotomayor: At 10:15 am ET from the White House’s East Room, President Obama will again make history by nominating the first Hispanic to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court: Sonia Sotomayor of the 2nd Circuit. The big question: Will she survive the confirmation process? Some Senate Democrats worry she'll be a heavier lift than others he could have nominated (like Diane Wood or Elena Kagan). But consider these points: One, it's clear Sotomayor -- whom the president knew the least about when this process began -- blew Obama away when he interviewed her on Thursday. In fact, White House officials believe that once Senate Democrats get to know her, they'll be as blown away as the president was, and she'll be confirmed easily. Two, would Republicans dare vote against the first Hispanic, especially after their rhetoric during the immigration debate of 2006-2007 clearly hurt them with this important voting bloc? And three, don’t ignore the politics surrounding this pick. As we’ve mentioned before, Latino groups have been grumbling somewhat about their representation (or lack thereof) in the Obama administration, as well as the fact that immigration reform doesn’t appear to be on the White House’s front-burner. But this pick buys Obama A LOT of time with Hispanics -- a demographic he won last year, 67%-31% -- on immigration and other issues. Is it a coincidence that Obama this week heads out West to Nevada and California, two states with large Latino populations?
In what seems to be an interesting fact, seven GOP senators voted for Sotomayor for her Federal Court appointment in '98 (from Politico):
This morning, President Obama is expected to name Sonia Sotomayor, currently a federal judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, as his Supreme Court nominee. She is the first Hispanic nominee for the high court, and if chosen, would become just the third woman to serve. President George H.W. Bush nominated her for her previous post as a judge for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.Born to parents who came from Puerto Rico, Sotomayor grew up in a Bronx housing project. In addition to her 16 years of court experience and her time as editor of the Yale Law Review, Sotomayor also “spent five years as a prosecutor with the Manhattan District Attorney, then developed her substantial civil practice as a commercial litigator.
Rethugs are going to try their best to fight this nomination, but Media Matters compiled videos showing all the usual suspect saying filibustering judicial nominee is unconstitutional (h/t AmericaBlog):
A bit of relevant history:
FiveSeven current Senate Republicans — plus Arlen Specter — voted for Sonia Sotomayor during her highly contested federal appeals appointment in Oct. 1998.
[UPDATED: We missed Bennett and Gregg in our first count.]
Senate Republicans, led by then-Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.), blocked her nomination by Bill Clinton to the Second Circuit for an entire year, arguing -- presciently -- that she was being tapped in preparation for a SCOTUS appointment.
Sens. Robert Bennett (R-Utah), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) joined a unanimous slate of Dems in pushing Sotomayor through by a vote of 68-28.
Among the 29 Republican nays were current Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kent.), Minority Whip John Kyl (R-Ariz.), ranking Judiciary Committee member Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.).
From the New York Times:
Karl Rove was already on Fox News ramping up attacks. Sotomayor is an “unabashed liberal.” Watch it (h/t ThinkProgress):
If confirmed by the Democratic-controlled Senate, Judge Sotomayor, 54, would replace Justice David H. Souter to become the second woman on the court and only the third female justice in the history of the Supreme Court. She also would be the first Hispanic justice to serve on the Supreme Court. [...]
The president reached his decision over the long Memorial Day weekend, aides said, but it was not disclosed until Tuesday morning when he informed his advisers of his choice less than three hours before the announcement was scheduled to take place.
Mr. Obama telephoned Judge Sotomayor at 9 p.m. on Monday, officials said, advising her that she was his choice to fill the Supreme Court vacancy.
Mitch McConnel has already fired his first shot (via DailyKos):
A statement from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), reacting to the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court of the United States:
Senate Republicans will treat Judge Sotomayor fairly. But we will thoroughly examine her record to ensure she understands that the role of a jurist in our democracy is to apply the law even-handedly, despite their own feelings or personal or political preferences.
Our Democratic colleagues have often remarked that the Senate is not a ‘rubber stamp.’ Accordingly, we trust they will ensure there is adequate time to prepare for this nomination, and a full and fair opportunity to question the nominee and debate her qualifications.
In other words, Senate Republicans will do everything possible to make sure Sotomayor isn't confirmed before the August recess. And the bit about "feelings or personal or political preferences"? Sounds like code for empathy and liberal activist.
And if you want to understand a lot of the motivation for Conservative in fighting ANY nominee Obama was going to choose for the High Court, check this out form Think Progress: