July 22, 2009

GOP Senators Mull Sotomayor Vote

Politico has the story.

"Several Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee are struggling with a sticky political dilemma over SupremeCourtnominee Sonia Sotomayor: Do they vote “no,” please the conservative base and send a message that liberal justices will be opposed at every turn?

Or do they vote “yes” and dampen Democratic attacks over their opposition to a nominee who will almost certainly become the first Latina Supreme Court justice? ... 

Conservative activists say a strong “no” vote by Judiciary Republicans would tell President Barack Obama that he can’t choose a more liberal justice if he gets another chance — as one Democratic senator told POLITICO he should do. A united opposition would also allow the GOP to argue that there is a clear distinction between the two parties’ approaches to judging and hot-button social issues like abortion and gun rights."

I understand the dilemma that many of these Senators feel that they are under.  That being said, if they choose to vote No there are many ways to diffuse any potential negatives.  For one, then Senator Obama's votes on SCOTUS nominees give any Senator plenty of room to vote no citing the President's own politics based standard.

As for the Hispanic angle, being from Texas I understand what some of these Senators are up against.  They have two things working in their favor: 1) the Democrat's deplorable and overtly racial treatment of Miguel Estrada and 2) that such behavior had no effect on Democratic electoral success.

My advice to any Senator who principally chooses to vote No is to 1) praise her background; 2) reiterate the principled approach the GOP took towards Sotamayor vis-a-vis the Democrat's approach to Miguel Estrada; 3) acknowledge that then Senator Obama voted against Roberts and Alito for purely political reasons; and 4) make a principled stand against Soromayor on either gun or property rights as she has provided amply troubling opinions on both (her statement that she hasn't thought about whether unborn babies have rights is disqualifying in my opinion as well).

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