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Menendez: GOP Will Pay a Price for Voting Against Sotomayor

Democrats launched their most pointed criticism yet of GOP opposition to Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor on Wednesday, saying Republicans “will pay a price— with the Hispanic community for their “no— votes.Appearing with Latino community leaders, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (N.J.) argued that while Sotomayor has a moderate record and espoused her opposition to judicial activism during her confirmation hearings, Republicans have still opposed her. Although Menendez never explicitly cited her ethnicity as a reason for the GOP opposition, he made clear that Latinos will view it as such. Menendez argued that their opposition is “a strong message to us … I think Republicans will pay a price for saying no to this judge.—Sotomayor would become the first Latina to serve on the high court.Later, speaking at a rally of civil rights leaders, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) charged that Republican Senate opposition is rooted in their support of “judicial activists— — which has long been the refrain of conservatives opposed to Democratic court nominees. Those conservatives argue they don’t want judges to legislate from the bench, but interpret the law.“Don’t tell me [conservative justices] are up there to call balls and strikes as mere umpires. They’re there to drive that court to the right,— Whitehouse argued, adding that Republicans have undertaken “strange and strained efforts to impose right wing orthodoxy on our courts.—The Senate Democrats’ attacks come despite the fact that Sotomayor has more than enough votes to be confirmed this week. The charges also come just as Sen. Kit Bond (Mo.) announced he would be joining six other Senate Republicans in voting in favor of the nomination.While Democrats were taking Republicans to task, Bond was on the floor discussing his support for Sotomayor, saying it is predicated in part on his belief that partisan politics should not play a role in the confirmation process.“The country is tired of partisanship infecting every debate. The country is tired of actions by Congress becoming a political battle … I will follow the direction of the past and my hope for [a] future with less polarization, less confrontation, less partisanship.“There’s been no significant finding against her. There’s been no public uprising against her. I do not believe the Constitution tells me that I should refuse to support her merely because I disagree with her on some cases. I will support her, I’ll be proud for her, the community she represents, and the American dream she shows is possible. I will cast my vote in favor of the nomination of Judge Sotomayor and I urge my colleagues to do the same,— he added.

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