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Lugar, Specter Endorse Sotomayor

Sen. Dick Lugar (R-Ind.) on Friday became the first Republican lawmaker to say he would vote to confirm Supreme Court hopeful Sonia Sotomayor, President Barack Obama’s first pick for the high court.

In a statement posted to his Web site, Lugar said that following a review of her record and testimony to the Judiciary Committee, he had decided to back Sotomayor. Lugar is not a member of the Judiciary panel, which wrapped up hearings on Sotomayor Thursday night.

“I have listened to the testimony of Judge Sonia Sotomayor before the Senate Judiciary Committee, carefully reviewed her public service record and reviewed recommendations from Indiana constituents and colleagues here in the Senate,— Lugar said.

“Judge Sotomayor is clearly qualified to serve on the Supreme Court and she has demonstrated a judicial temperament during her week-long nomination hearing. Judge Sotomayor has had a distinguished career of public service. She is well regarded in the legal community and by her peers. I will vote to confirm Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination to serve as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.—

Although Lugar is the first Republican to officially back the nomination, at least one other Republican — Judiciary Committee member Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) — all but endorsed Sotomayor during Thursday’s hearing. After emerging as one of her fiercest critics, Graham used his question period Thursday to praise her record and argue that she is not an activist judge.

Also Friday, Sotomayor picked up the endorsement of Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.). Specter, who before bolting the GOP in April was the top-ranked Republican on the Judiciary Committee, was also an aggressive questioner of Sotomayor, pressing her throughout the hearings on detailed questions of legal theory and precedent.

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