Commentary: Murkowski shows open mind toward Sotomayor nomination

We commend Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski for her open-minded approach to the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S Supreme Court. "I will examine and review very closely Judge Sotomayor's qualifications and background for a court appointment," Sen. Murkowski announced Tuesday. "I take my advice and consent role very seriously, and I look forward to a fair and full debate on this nomination."

If Republican obstructionists try to kill Judge Sotomayor's nomination by filibuster, they probably won't get help from Sen. Murkowski. (When Senate opponents filibuster, they subject an issue to unlimited debate. A proposal or nomination is blocked unless supporters get a supermajority of 60 votes to shut off debate.)

In May 2005, Sen. Murkowski opposed using the filibuster to block presidential appointments. At the time, Senate Democrats were the minority and filibustering controversial judicial nominees offered by President George W. Bush.

Writing in the Juneau Empire, Sen. Murkowski said:

"Let me make it clear that I support an up-or-down vote on all nominations brought to the Senate floor, regardless of the president nominating them or which party controls the Senate. These nominees deserve to be considered based on their merits."

To read the complete editorial, visit The Anchorage Daily News.