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Sotomayor confirmation debate begins in full Senate

[JURIST] The US Senate on Tuesday began debate [executive calendar, PDF] on the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor [WH profile; JURIST news archive] to the US Supreme Court. While it is believed that Sotomayor will be confirmed [CSPAN vote tally] to replace retiring Justice David Souter [official profile, PDF; JURIST news archive], Senate Republicans renewed their objections to Sotomayor prior to the beginning of the debate. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) [official website] called Sotomayor's background, "distinguished," but again raised [press release] the issue of the her comments on how a judge's history may inform his or her decisions [CNN report]. Also on Tuesday, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) [official website] indicated that he would not vote [floor speech] for Sotomayor's confirmation, calling her a judicial activist and saying, "[a]s a district court judge, her decisions too often strayed beyond settled legal norms." The debate over Sotomayor's nomination is not expected to last long, as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) [official website] indicated that he anticipates history will be made this week [Washington Post report] when the Senate confirms Sotomayor.

Sotomayor's nomination was approved by the Judiciary Committee [JURIST report] last week by a 13-6 vote, mostly along party lines. Prior to that vote, Sotomayor faced questions from senators during late July confirmation hearings [JURIST report]. Earlier last month, the American Bar Association Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary [association website] gave Sotomayor a unanimous "well-qualified" rating [JURIST report].

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