Wicker to Oppose Sotomayor's Nomination

By: staff reports, The Associated Press
By: staff reports, The Associated Press

Sen. Roger Wicker said Tuesday he will oppose the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“The Constitutional duty of ‘advice and consent’ given to the Senate is of great importance, particularly when considering a lifetime appointment to the nation’s highest court," said Wicker. "In reviewing Judge Sotomayor’s nomination, I have taken this obligation seriously. After careful consideration of her record and judicial philosophy, I have concluded I will vote against her nomination.

Wicker said his position is tied to Sotomayor in his words, "refusing to confirm that the Second Amendment is a fundamental right that applies to all 50 states, and thus, all Americans."

The senator said he respects the judge's accomplishments but says her views are out of the mainstream in Mississippi, and the nation.

Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, considered to be a moderate, became the latest member of the GOP to publicly commit to voting for the president's first high court pick.

"I know that I will not agree with every decision Justice Sotomayor reaches on the court, just as I disagree with some of her previous decisions," Collins said in a statement.

However, she added that she believes Sotomayor understands a judge's proper role "and is committed to applying the law impartially without bias or favoritism."

Meanwhile, the Senate Judiciary Committee put off its Tuesday vote on the nominee for one week amid objections from the panel's conservative Republicans.

Sens. Richard Lugar of Indiana, Mel Martinez of Florida and Olympia Snowe of Maine have all announced they would vote for the 55-year-old federal appeals court judge, while some of the most conservative Republicans, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, have said they'll oppose her.

Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, the senior Republican on the Judiciary panel, said Sotomayor is still on track to win quick confirmation on a timetable slightly quicker than the one Democrats followed for confirming GOP-nominated Chief Justice John Roberts.

"You moved fast. Some say you didn't go fast enough, some of us said you went too fast," Sessions said. "Our side's tried to fulfill our responsibilities without any unnecessary delays."

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., the Judiciary chairman, said his panel would vote on Sotomayor's nomination July 28 and expressed confidence she would win confirmation by a bipartisan vote of the full Senate in time for the Supreme Court's earlier-than-usual first meeting Sept. 9.

Also Tuesday, the abortion rights group NARAL Pro-Choice America endorsed Sotomayor, breaking months of silence on her nomination that stemmed from uncertainty about where the judge stands on the legal underpinnings of a woman's right to terminate a pregnancy.

"We are pleased that Judge Sotomayor expressed stronger support for the established constitutional right to privacy than either Chief Justice Roberts or Justice Alito, both of whom had anti-choice records before being nominated to their current positions," Nancy Keenan, the group's president, and Kelli Conlin, the head of its New York chapter, said in a joint statement.

"She also articulated several times throughout the hearing that the constitutional right to privacy includes the right to choose," they said.

NARAL also said it considered the backing Sotomayor has drawn from the Senate's strongest proponents of abortion rights, as well as Obama's consistent support for the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that established the right to choose.

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