As expected, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) was the lone GOP vote for Sonia Sotomayor today, joining a dozen Judiciary Committee Democrats in forwarding her nomination to the full Senate for approval.
Two of the veteran GOP senators who voted against her, Charles E. Grassley (Iowa) and Orrin G. Hatch (Utah), have never before opposed a Supreme Court nominee. The committee’s vote was more polarized than its September 2005 vote on the nomination of John G. Roberts Jr., who is now the court’s chief justice, when three Democrats joined the panel’s Republicans in supporting his confirmation. Tuesday’s vote, however, was less divided than the vote on the most recent nominee, Samuel A. Alito Jr., in January 2006, when the panel endorsed him by splitting entirely along party lines.
The full Senate will begin debating Sotomayor’s nomination next week.