Bennet: Sotomayor nod ‘historic,’ a ‘tremendous choice’ for high court

One of the two Coloradans who will actually have a vote whether Judge Sonia Sotomayor sits on the Supreme Court applauded the nomination Tuesday. U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, a Democrat, heaped praise on Sotomayor in a statement, calling her pick “historic” because she could be the first Hispanic on the court.

“Sonia Sotomayor is a tremendous choice for the U.S. Supreme Court. She is a thoughtful and balanced judge with a keen intellect and a broad academic and legal background. Her skill and fair-mindedness on the federal bench has won the praise and support of Republicans and Democrats alike.

“Judge Sotomayor’s nomination is historic. If confirmed, she will be only the third woman and the first Hispanic to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. She brings with her a compelling life story and personal experience that will add to the Court’s diversity and its shared understanding of how its decisions affect the daily lives of hardworking Americans.

“Today, President Obama has showed us how he can bring this country together. By selecting Judge Sotomayor, he has chosen a nominee who has previously been nominated for judicial appointments by President George H.W. Bush and by President Bill Clinton. Judge Sotomayor has been confirmed twice before by the full Senate and her nomination to the Supreme Court should be considered swiftly.”

Bennet reminds that Sotomayor won bipartisan support when she was confirmed to the 2nd Circuit as a federal judge in 1998. The Plum Line’s Greg Sargent makes the same point in a post noting seven sitting GOP senators backed Sotomayor, which could portend a rift in the party if Republican hard-liners oppose her nomination to the Supreme Court.

Colorado’s two senators — both Republicans — split on Sotomayor’s confirmation to the federal bench a decade ago. Former Sen. Wayne Allard voted nay, along with 28 of his colleagues, all Republicans. But former Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell joined 24 Republican senators and 42 Democrats voting yea.

As Sargent notes, current GOP senators Richard Lugar, Olympia Snowe, Robert Bennett, Thad Cochran, Susan Collins, Orrin Hatch, and Judd Gregg all voted to confirm Sotomayor. Arlen Specter, who recently switched parties, also supported Sotomayor in 1998.

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