WASHINGTON — Sen. Jeff Sessions, the Senate Judiciary Committee's top Republican, said Monday he will oppose the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court.
"I don't believe that Judge Sotomayor has the deep-rooted convictions necessary to resist the siren call of judicial activism," he said, announcing his decision in a USA Today op-ed piece. "She has evoked its mantra too often.
"As someone who cares about great heritage of law," Sessions said, "I must withhold my consent."
The Alabama senator is the fourth committee Republican expected to vote against the judge, following Texas Sen. John Cornyn, Arizona's Jon Kyl and Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said he would back the federal appellate judge, who is seeking to become the first court's Hispanic.
The committee is scheduled to vote Tuesday, and Sotomayor is expected to win overwhelming approval, since the panel has 12 Democrats and seven Republicans. A full Senate debate and vote is expected next week.
So far, five Republicans have voiced support for Sotomayor — Graham, Indiana's Richard Lugar, Maine's Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins and Florida's Mel Martinez.
Sessions conceded that while Sotomayor "will likely be confirmed," but he warned that "supporters of liberal judicial philosophy might find it a Pyrrhic victory."
While she "renounced the pillars of activist thinking" in her four days of testimony earlier this month, Sessions said, it seemed disingenuous.
"Which Sotomayor will we get?" he asked. he cited three rulings, on private property rights, affirmative action and the right to bear arms, and said the decisions had three things in common:
"Each was contrary to the Constitution," Sessions said. "Each was decided in a brief opinion, short on analysis. And each was consistent with liberal political thought."
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