Strategery: Republicans mull how to vote on Sotomayor

Conservative activists say a strong “no” vote by Judiciary Republicans would tell President Barack Obama that he can’t choose a more liberal justice if he gets another chance — as one Democratic senator told POLITICO he should do. A united opposition would also allow the GOP to argue that there is a clear distinction between the two parties’ approaches to judging and hot-button social issues like abortion and gun rights.

But it would give Democrats a big weapon to use to woo the rapidly growing Latino constituency and female voters. If there are mass defections, that Democratic attack line against the GOP would be defused…

Graham told POLITICO that he would announce his decision on Wednesday, potentially becoming the first Republican on the committee to declare his support for the nomination. If he does support Sotomayor, as he signaled he may do at her confirmation hearings last week, it could influence other wavering Republicans on the committee to do the same. If he doesn’t, it could be a sign that all committee Republicans will vote against her.

“I’m free to do what I think is best,” Graham said, adding that he’s not afraid of the political backlash one way or another.