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Sonia Sotomayor is our newest Supreme Court Justice – Republican coalition continues to shrink

Justice Sonia Sotomayor is the newest member of the Supreme Court. She was just confirmed by a vote of 68-31 in the Senate. Here are the nay votes:

  • Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY)
  • Sen. Robert F. Bennett (R-UT)
  • Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS)
  • Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY)
  • Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC)
  • Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)
  • Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK)
  • Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS)
  • Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN)
  • Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX)
  • Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID)
  • Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC)
  • Sen. John Ensign (R-NV)
  • Sen. Michael B. Enzi (R-WY)
  • Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA)
  • Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-UT)
  • Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX)
  • Sen. James M. Inhofe (R-OK)
  • Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA)
  • Sen. Mike Johanns (R-NE)
  • Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ)
  • Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)
  • Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
  • Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
  • Sen. James E. Risch (R-ID)
  • Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS)
  • Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL)
  • Sen. Richard C. Shelby (R-AL)
  • Sen. John Thune (R-SD)
  • Sen. David Vitter (R-LA)
  • Sen. Roger F. Wicker (R-MS)

All Republicans. All Democrats voted to confirm Sotomayor, along with eight Republicans: Sen. Christopher S. Bond (R-MO), Sen. Susan M. Collins (R-ME), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH), Sen. Richard G. Lugar (R-IN), Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL), Sen. Olympia J. Snowe (R-ME), Sen. George V. Voinovich (R-OH).

Three Senators – Bennett, Cochran, and Hatch – had voted to confirm Sotomayor to the 2nd Circuit and voted no today. Sotomayor got more votes than two sitting Supreme Court Justices, Alito (58-42) and Thomas (52-48).

Clearly, the majority of the Republican party was against Sotomayor, the first Hispanic Supreme Court Justice. With the Hispanic vote becoming more and more important, I’m not sure this will play out well for Republicans in upcoming elections. As Chris noted when she was confirmed by the Judiciary Committee:

If I were a Republican voting no on the Sotomayor nomination, I’d be hoping she doesn’t turn out to be an excellent justice.  I have a feeling their "no" vote may turn out to be pretty embarrassing.  It’s clear this is a political vote for Republicans, much as they invoke the hoary (but meaningless) mantras of "strict construction" and "judicial activism".  The funny thing is, I don’t think their no votes even make much sense from a political perspective.  Republicans are merely reinforcing their brand as a party that tries to turn race, ethnicity, and gender into political wedge issues.

They’ve made their choice. Clearly, expanding the GOP coalition to include Hispanics isn’t what the Republican party wants at this point.

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Jason Rosenbaum

Jason Rosenbaum

Writer, musician, activist. Currently consulting for Bill Halter for U.S. Senate and a fellow at the New Organizing Institute.