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Sotomayor wth Sessions (AP/Photo by Charles Dharapak)

Speed bump

Supreme Court | Despite a delayed vote, Sonia Sotomayor continues on her path toward confirmation

WASHINGTON-Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee used a procedural move on Tuesday to delay Judge Sonia Sotomayor's Supreme Court confirmation vote for one week. Ranking GOP committee member Jeff Sessions of Alabama said members of his party would like more time to review Sotomayor's record.

The delay is more of a speed bump than a roadblock, as Sotomayor is still expected to receive both the committee's confirmation and the full Senate's approval.

"I don't necessarily think [the delay] makes a difference," Sen. Tom Coburn told me, adding that he was not involved in the request to hold off on the vote.

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Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., granted the Republicans' request but added that he was disappointed. He said Sotomayor needs to be confirmed as soon as possible, because the Supreme Court will reconvene in September-much earlier than usual-to hear an urgent case challenging important aspects of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance bill.

"She will have very few weeks to prepare," Leahy said.

The final committee confirmation vote is now scheduled for Tuesday, July 28, and Democrats promise to push a final Senate vote as swiftly as possible after that.

Four Republicans have now committed to voting for Sotomayor. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine released a statement Tuesday saying she "concluded that Judge Sotomayor understands the proper rule of a judge and is committed to applying the law impartially without bias or favoritism." The other three Republicans are Sens. Dick Lugar, Mel Martinez, and Olympia Snowe.

Also on Tuesday, NARAL Pro-Choice America endorsed Sotomayor. NARAL President Nancy Keenan said the group took into consideration the strong support Sotomayor's nomination has garnered from pro-choice members of the Senate, as well as President Obama's consistent record of support for the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade abortion decision.

Some Republicans still say they will not support Sotomayor because of her questionable statement made about "a wise Latina woman" being able to reach better conclusions than others. "If she were confirmed, there would be no higher court to deter or prevent her from injecting into the law the various disconcerting principles that recur throughout her public statements," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.


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