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Reid, Leahy Chide GOP Over Opposition to Sotomayor

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) leveled harsh criticism against Republicans on Wednesday for their opposition to Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor, arguing they are outside of the mainstream and warning of a public backlash.Speaking an event with Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and a group of civil rights leaders, Reid argued that “with very rare exceptions, Republicans in the United States Senate do not represent mainstream Republicans in this country … voting against this good woman is going to treat them as about as well as their handling of immigration— in 2005.Reid rejected GOP arguments that President Barack Obama, while serving in the Senate, set a new standard for how Senators should vote on confirmations when he opposed the nomination of Chief Justice John Roberts over ideological concerns. “Roberts got half of the Democrats,— Reid said. “As of today it looks like we’ll only get a handful of Republicans.—Leahy chided Republicans for focusing so much of their energy during the confirmation hearings on a handful of speeches by Sotomayor in which she made controversial comments about the role of ethnicity and gender in making certain types of decisions as a judge. “There wasn’t a question left unanswered. Or unasked. Or unasked over and over and over again.—Leahy also urged his colleagues to reject pressure from the National Rifle Association and other outside groups that have come out against Sotomayor. “I thought their opposition was totally out of line. … I would hope all Senators would make up their minds based on what they saw and not what any pressure groups on the right or the left have to say,— he said.Reid said he is still in talks with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on when to begin the floor debate on the confirmation, but he said he will ensure Republicans have plenty of time to air their grievances.“I’m trying to work out an agreement with Sen. McConnell now,— Reid said before taking another shot at Republicans’ focus on Sotomayor’s public statements. “How many times do we have to listen to the same speeches?— he asked.“They can talk as long as they want … this is going to be one of the last things we do [before August recess],— he added.