As expected, the Senate Judiciary Committee has delayed a vote scheduled for today on the nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court.
Republicans exercised their right under committee rules for a one-week delay in the vote, a common tactic that senators in the minority party have used for controversial nominees and for legislation. The delay sets up a vote in the committee July 28, when Sotomayor is all but certain to win the committee’s endorsement.
Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) reiterated that he wants Sotomayor sworn in with enough time to prepare for the 2009-10 term and for a final case from the 2008-09 term, the campaign finance case Citizens United v. FEC. An unusual second round of oral argument is set for Sept. 9 in that case, featuring Solicitor General Elena Kagan and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher partner Theodore Olson.
“We all know that Judge Sotomayor will be confirmed,” Leahy said. “I hope that, when she is passed out of this committee, that there will be no delay on the floor because she will have a very, very few weeks after confirmation to move to Washington, set up her law clerks, set up her office, and prepare for a major, major case.”
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), the committee’s top Republican, didn’t announce how he plans to vote on the nomination but said Sotomayor remains on track for confirmation. “I’ve tried to fulfill our responsibility without any unreasonable delay,” he said.
So far, four Republicans have said they plan to vote for confirmation, the latest being Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine).