So much for my prediction of 75 votes to confirm; with Sessions, Kyl, and now even Maverick against her, she’ll be lucky to break 70. I’m honestly stunned, for the same reason Hotline is:
McCain voted against Sotomayor’s nomination to the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in ’98, so his decision is not entirely surprising. But like his friend and GOP colleague, Sen. Lindsey Graham (SC), McCain has decried the politicization of judicial nominations that led to a failed Dem filibuster of Justice Samuel Alito. Graham, citing a desire to “start over” on the Senate’s advise and consent role, was the only GOP member of the Senate Judiciary Cmte to support Sotomayor’s nomination last week.
Maverick was part of the Gang of 14 too, which makes it doubly surprising. His supposed reason for voting no is her “long record of judicial activism” but I’m not sure what he means by that. The only decision of hers that the GOP spent any serious amount of time attacking was Ricci and that was handed down just 18 months ago. Likewise, as I’ve said in a few other posts, she’s never had a reputation for being a lefty ideologue on the bench; we’re talking about a former prosecutor, after all. It’s her speeches that raise the prospect of judicial activism, but why should they be taken as more predictive of how she’ll rule than her actual opinions? She’s closer to the center than any Obama nominee is likely to be, so if she’s “not qualified,” none of them will be — which I think is the deeper message McCain’s trying to send here. Exit question: What’s his real reason for voting no? Ace thinks he’s bitter about last year but I’m trying to game out some Senate re-election angle. It’d make sense to oppose Sotomayor if he’s worried about the primary challenge from Chris Simcox, but surely that’s less of a threat to him than alienating Arizona’s Hispanic voters in the general election, no? I don’t get it.