McCain Says No to Sotomayor as Senate Debate Opens
By Kathleen Gilbert
WASHINGTON, D.C., August 4, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – As the full Senate today begins debating the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor, Sen. John McCain has sided with conservative Republicans who say they will not back the candidate based on her record of judicial activism.
Sen. McCain, Obama’s rival for the presidency last year, said he had "great respect" for Sotomayor, but her "long public record of judicial activism" stood in the way of McCain’s support.
"Regardless of one’s success in academics and in government service, an individual who does not appreciate the common-sense limitations on judicial power in our democratic system of government ultimately lacks a key qualification for a lifetime appointment to the bench," said McCain. "For this reason, and no other, I am unable to support Judge Sotomayor’s nomination."
While the majority of Republicans reportedly plan not to support Sotomayor, the reasons aired have largely concerned the candidate’s judicial activism and narrow interpretation of the Second Amendment, rather than her support for legalized abortion as decided in the Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade.
Sotomayor told the Senate Judiciary Committee last month that she supported Roe as "settled law," but did not express the same loyalty toward the Supreme Court’s upholding the partial-birth abortion ban in 2007.
Prior to the hearings, pro-life leaders expressed concern over Sotomayor’s largely hidden position on abortion, and pointed to extremely pro-abortion legal briefs authored by the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund under Sotomayor while she served as a board member.
Just before the Judiciary committee approved Sotomayor 13-6 last week, NARAL announced their support for the candidate after weeks of uncertainty about her position on abortion, due to her lack of a direct record on the issue.
"We took into consideration the significant and strong support [Sotomayor's] nomination has garnered from some of our most committed pro-choice allies in the Senate as well as President Obama’s consistent record of support for Roe v. Wade and his established record of nominating to key posts individuals who share his principles," wrote the group.
Senators are expected to vote on Sotomayor by the end of this week, before departing for their summer recess. With none among the Democrat supermajority having expressed opposition, the nomination is expected to win confirmation easily.
On Monday, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs cast the future tally of Republican votes for the pro-abortion judge as a test of the GOP’s "bipartisanship."
"There’s an interesting vote that we’ll see in the next couple days on the Supreme Court, and we’ll see where everybody is on bipartisanship," said Gibbs.
See related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
Senate Judiciary Committee Supports Sotomayor 13-6
NARAL Officially Backs Sotomayor
Sotomayor Calls Abortion a "Right" at Final Hearing