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Which Republicans Voted For Sotomayor, And Why ?

by @ 1:19 pm on August 7, 2009. Filed under Politics, Republicans, Sonia Sotomayor, Supreme Court

As I noted yesterday, only nine Republicans voted in favor of Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination to the Supreme Court, and has the list and a probably explanation for why they felt able to do it:


The votes from the retiring Senators, along with Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, are pretty easy to understand. As for the others, here’s what I think motivated their votes:

  1. Lamar Alexander isn’t up for re-election until 2014. He faced no Republican opposition in 2008, and defeated his Democratic opponent by 34 points. Most likely, his vote on this nomination will be largely forgotten assuming he decides to run for re-election in 5 years.
  2. Lindsey Graham is also up for re-election in 2014. He defeated his Republican primary opponent by 33 points and his Democratic opponent by 15 points.
  3. Richard Lugar is a long-term incumbent and faced only token opposition in 2006.

For all three, a yes vote on Sotomayor was basically without any significant political risk.

4 Responses to “Which Republicans Voted For Sotomayor, And Why ?”

  1. But to the basic question Doug: Why (do you think) these Republicans would vote for Sonia Sotomayor?

    It seems to me that if they wanted to advance the dictum of the Rush Limbaughs of the world, they would have voted against her without any fear of reprisal (for the reasons that you listed).


  2. The reprisal I have in mind is reprisal from Republicans who would call these people RINOs for voting for Sotomayor and possibly pitting a challenger against them in a primary. In each case, the Senators who voted for her don’t really have to worry about that.

  3. Curious says:

    All three of those in question, as well as Martinez and Voinovich, said she was fit for the bench as measured by judged by qualification and judicial temperament (the same standard for her prior confirmation), and that the President should be able to select judges if they meet those standards. I will say, guys, Dems started this partisan-style fight years ago. These senators merely are above the fray of that issue.

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