Two more GOP senators throw support behind Sotomayor

McClatchy NewspapersAugust 5, 2009 

Two more Republican senators Wednesday said they would back Sonia Sotomayor's bid to become a U.S. Supreme Court justice, as the Senate moved closer to a final, all-but-certain confirmation vote.

Sens. Christopher "Kit" Bond of Missouri and Judd Gregg of New Hampshire said they would go against most other Senate Republicans and support the federal appellate judge, who is seeking to become the court's first Hispanic justice. Eight of the Senate's 40 Republicans have now said they support her.

"I reject the Obama approach to nominees," Bond said. "While I reject the way Senator Obama approached nominations, that does not mean that I support the way Judge Sotomayor approaches judging.

"I disagree that the civil rights of a firefighter mean so little that they do not deserve even a full opinion before an appeals court," he said, citing a case Sotomayor helped decide.

"I disagree that we should inspire with suggestions that wisdom has anything to do with the sex of a person or the color of their skin," he said, referring to a 2001 Sotomayor comment that a wise Latina could make better decisions than a white male.

But, Bond explained, "I do agree that Judge Sotomayor has proven herself a well qualified jurist. I do agree that she has proven herself as a talented and accomplished student, federal prosecutor, corporate litigator, federal trial judge, and federal appeals court judge."

And, he noted, "The Senate has reviewed her nomination and has asked her its questions. There has been no significant findings against her. There has been no public uprising against her."

Gregg's thoughts were similar, saying that although he and the judge do not often agree on issues, she is hardly out of the nation's judicial mainstream.

A final vote is expected Thursday afternoon.

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