Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday delayed a planned vote on whether to confirm Supreme Court Nominee Sonia Sotomayor.
Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., the chairman of the panel said that Republicans were insisting on their traditional right to put the vote off for an additional week before moving the measure to the Senate floor.
Leahy said, however, that he hoped there would be no delays on the Senate floor to stall the nomination, as Sotomayor would likely need all the time she could get to move to Washington to prepare for an unusual September rehearing of a campaign finance case from the previous term.
Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., the ranking Republican on the panel, said that the GOP was merely trying to fulfill its obligations to review Sotomayor's candidacy.
Speaking after the abbreviated committee meeting, at which Sessions was the only Republican present and called with the bare minimum 10 members present to gather a quorum, Leahy said he expected a strong bipartisan showing for Sotomayor's nomination.
He said that the timeline was progressing similarly to that of the nomination of Chief Justice John Roberts, though he noted that "each one is unique."
Leahy also commented that it was slightly ironic that after Sotomayor had answered thousands of questions that there would even need to be much of a floor debate.
He said he was willing to bet that there is "not going to be a single senator" that does not know how he or she intends to vote from the very beginning.
Leahy also added that he had been very careful to observe the minority's rights during the process, noting that he had not cut off a single senator's questioning.
He said he was disappointed that the vote did not take place, but he declined to categorize the Republicans' actions as stalling or delaying the nomination.
In related news, Sen. Susan Collins has joined fellow Maine Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe in announcing that she will vote to support the nomination of Sotomayor to the Supreme Court.
Collins released a statement on Tuesday saying, "Based on my review of her record, my assessment of her character, and my analysis of her adherence to precedent, Judge Sotomayor warrants confirmation to the high court."
While Collins said she would not agree with every decision Justice Sotomayor reaches, she concluded that Sotomayor understands the proper rule of a judge and is committed to applying the law impartially without bias or favoritism.
"I will vote to confirm Judge Sotomayor as I believe she will serve our country honorably and well on the Supreme Court," Collins added.
Collins is the fourth Republican to publicly pledge their support for Sotomayor. Along with Collins and Snowe, Sens. Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., and Mel Martinez, R-FL, have also said that they intend to vote in favor of her confirmation.
Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., announced Monday that he plans to vote against Sotomayor.
McConnell, speaking on the floor of the Senate, said that President Barack Obama's use of empathy in selecting Sotomayor, and the judges own writings and speeches on the subject, made it impossible for him to support her.
by RTT Staff Writer
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