Begich Undecided on Sotomayor

Posted July 29, 2009 at 11:47am

Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska), a staunch gun rights advocate, is undecided on how he will vote for Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor, but said Wednesday that he was satisfied with her stance on Second Amendment issues.

“I spent 45 minutes with her, which is unusual for a non-Judiciary Committee member, and I felt the responses she gave were what I was looking for,— the freshman Senator said.

While he maintained he was undecided on his vote, Begich indicated he was leaning toward voting in favor. The Judiciary Committee approved Sotomayor’s nomination on Tuesday on a 13-6 vote. The full Senate is expected to vote on her confirmation next week.

During Sotomayor’s confirmation hearings, Republicans voiced concerns about how she would approach gun rights and the Second Amendment. Several GOP Senators cited those concerns in casting their “no— votes.

The National Rifle Association, which said Sotomayor is “hostile— to the Second Amendment, announced it will include her Supreme Court confirmation vote in its annual review of lawmakers’ voting records.

Despite the NRA’s fierce opposition, Begich maintained that he remains “open at this point— on Sotomayor.

Begich was one of just three Democrats last week to sponsor a bill that would have allowed licensed gun owners to carry concealed weapons across state lines. The measure, strongly opposed by the Democrats’ more liberal wing, was defeated by just two votes on the Senate floor.