Senate committee approves Sotomayor

John O'Brien Jul. 28, 2009, 1:35pm


WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) - The Senate Judiciary Committee voted Tuesday in support of making federal appeals court judge Sonia Sotomayor the next U.S. Supreme Court justice.

A 13-6 vote by the committee sends Sotomayor's fate before the full Senate, which shouldn't be a problem for her if all Democratic senators vote the way Democrats voted in the committee. Twelve Democratic senators were joined by South Carolina's Lindsey Graham in voting for Sotomayor.

Republicans who voted against her were Alabama's Jeff Sessions, Utah's Orrin Hatch, Iowa's Charles Grassley, Arizona's Jon Kyl, Texas' John Cornyn and Oklahoma's Tom Coburn.

Democrats hold a 60-40 advantage in the Senate. President Barack Obama nominated Sotomayor in May to replace Justice David Souter, who retired in June.

Sotomayor is a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

"At this point, her confirmation seems assured," Princeton University provost Chris Eisgruber told Legal Newsline last week. "Her odds were pretty good from the start.

"She was the nominee of a popular president whose party commands a sizable majority in the Senate. No bombshells dropped during her hearings, and it is hard to imagine why she would not be confirmed."

Eisgruber is the author of "The Next Justice: Reparing the Supreme Court Appointments Process."

From Legal Newsline: Reach John O'Brien by e-mail at

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