What: All Issues : Justice for All: Civil and Criminal : Judicial Nominations : On confirming Sonia Sotomayor to be a Supreme Court justice/On the nomination (2009 senate Roll Call 262)
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On confirming Sonia Sotomayor to be a Supreme Court justice/On the nomination
senate Roll Call 262     Aug 06, 2009
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Win

This vote was on confirming Sonia Sotomayor to be a justice on the Supreme Court.

Sotomayor, the daughter of Puerto Rican immigrants, grew up in a Bronx housing project, but graduated from Princeton University and Yale Law School.  She will become the first Latino Supreme Court justice.

Rather than focusing on her lengthy record on the bench, Republicans mostly took aim at a remark Sotomayor made in a series of speeches, suggesting that a “wise Latina” might reach a better judicial decision than a white man. 

“By now, most people are aware of Judge Sotomayor's comments that a ``wise Latina woman'' would ``more often than not reach a better conclusion than a White male.'' However, I think it bears pointing out to those who claim the comment was made in isolation and taken out of context, that Judge Sotomayor has made a series of similar comments over the years,” said Mike Johanns, R-Neb.  “Nowhere in the history of our judicial system have judges been told to ``go with their gut'' as implied in the judge's statement. Such a standard would erode the legitimacy of the judicial system and would put every litigant in jeopardy of receiving an unfair trial.”

Democrats played up her many years of judicial experience and prodded Republicans for focusing too much on that remark.

“For many who oppose Sonia Sotomayor, her life achievements and her judicial record aren't good enough. They have gone through 3,000 different court decisions that this woman has written or been part of. They have scoured through hundreds of speeches she has given. If you watched the hearing, they focused primarily on one case and one sentence in one speech,” Durbin said.  “At Judge Sotomayor's hearing, Republican Senators mentioned the words ``wise Latina woman''--that one line in one speech--17 different times.”

Though a majority of the Republican caucus turned out against Sotomayor’s nomination, her confirmation was never really in serious jeopardy because of Democrats’ overwhelming margin of control in the Senate.  In the end Republicans elected not to filibuster her nomination.

By a vote of 68-31, the Senate voted to confirm Sotomayor. Every Democrat present voted to confirm.  Of Republicans present, nine voted to confirm and 31 voted not to confirm.  The end result is that Sonia Sotomayor was confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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