Thursday, August 06, 2009

Voinovich Breaks From Party Over Sotomayor

Senate poised to make history with Sotomayor vote; AP

Republican Sen. George Voinovich of Ohio said he'd break with his party to support Supreme Court Sonia Sotomayor Thursday, as the Senate pressed toward a history-making vote to confirm her as the first Hispanic justice over the grave objections of most GOP senators.

The Democratic-led Senate is set to vote later Thursday on President Barack Obama's high court nominee, a 55-year-old appeals court judge of Puerto Rican descent who was raised in a New York City housing project, educated in the Ivy League and served 17 years on the federal bench.

Sotomayor picked up more GOP support even as more than three-quarters of the Senate's 40 Republicans said they would vote "no" and contended she would bring liberal bias and personal sympathies to her decisions. With all Democrats expected to back her, she has more than enough votes to be confirmed, in one of the Senate's last acts before it breaks for the summer.

"Judge Sotomayor's decisions, while not always the decision I would render, are not outside the legal mainstream and do not indicate an obvious desire to legislate from the bench," Voinovich said on the Senate floor. He was the ninth Republican to announce he'd vote "yes."

"I have confidence that the parties who appear before her will encounter a judge who is committed to recognizing and suppressing any personal bias she may have to reach a decision that is dictated by the rule of law," he said.

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