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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Martinez Taking A Cue From Benedict Arlen

Martinez is backing Sotomayorrr. Gee.... I wonder if her name was Johnson if he still vote for her?

"It is a momentous and historic opportunity," Martinez (R-Fla.) said.

For him or the rest of us?

Republican senator backs Sonia Sotomayor

Mel Martinez of Florida is the first to break from the GOP during the Senate debate on Sotomayor's nomination to the Supreme Court. He calls her a 'mainstream' judge who would 'rule with restraint.'
By James Oliphant
9:45 AM PDT, August 5, 2009
Reporting from Washington -- Sen. Mel Martinez today was the first Republican to publicly break from his party during the Senate debate over Sonia Sotomayor and declare his support for the Supreme Court nominee.

"It is a momentous and historic opportunity," Martinez (R-Fla.) said. "Her 17-year judicial record indicates that she will apply the law without bias."

Martinez, who is retiring from the Senate, directly rebutted his GOP colleagues in saying he believed Sotomayor was a "mainstream" judge who would "rule with restraint." And he dismissed the furor over Sotomayor's "wise Latina" remark, saying what matters is that the New York federal appeals judge's opinions, "not what she said to a group of students one day."

Sotomayor has been criticized by some Republicans for suggesting in speeches that a "wise Latina" would "reach a better conclusion" in some cases than a white male.

Martinez charged that some Republicans were using Sotomayor's speeches as "an excuse" not to vote for her confirmation. Her critics, he said, "have yet to produce objective evidence that she has allowed personal bias to influence her judicial decision-making."

Martinez's expression of support came on the second day of debate over Sotomayor's nomination. A vote could come as early as Thursday. Sotomayor is expected to be confirmed.

After Martinez spoke, veteran Sen. Christopher S. Bond (R-Mo.) took to the floor and announced that he would also vote for Sotomayor, saying that President Obama was entitled to appoint his choice of judges. He said a Republican president similarly had the prerogative to appoint conservatives to the court. "She has proven herself to be a well-qualified jurist," Bond said. "The country is tired of partisanship infecting every debate."

Bond's announcement means that at least seven Republican will vote to confirm Sotomayor.

Earlier, Sen. Richard M. Burr (R-N.C.) embraced what has been the more traveled Republican path on Sotomayor's nomination, saying that he did not believe Sotomayor would stick to "the letter of the law" and said he would not vote to confirm her.

At the start of the debate today, several female Democratic senators banded together on the Senate floor to ensure that the other history-making nature of Sotomayor's nomination would not go unnoticed.

While much attention has been paid to the fact that Sotomayor would be the first Latino on the high court, she would also be just the third woman to serve as a justice, noted Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.)

Klobuchar was joined on the floor by Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.), Debbie Stabenow (Mich.), Kristen Gillibrand (N.Y.) and Patty Murray (Wash.).


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