Senator Baucus Undecided on Sotomayor
by Charles Lemos, Thu Jul 30, 2009 at 07:07:42 PM EDT
Senator Max Baucus, Democrat of Montana, has told The Hill that he is undecided on next week's floor vote on Sotomayor.
"I have no idea," Baucus said. "I haven't paid any attention and I haven't announced ... I've been so busy with healthcare. It's under consideration. I'll certainly know when I vote, but right now I can't tell you."
The article suggests that the NRA may be a factor in the decision.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) has come out against Sotomayor, stating it will factor the vote into its legislative scorecard because the group feels the nominee would curb gun rights.
Baucus had an A rating from the NRA in 2008, as did two other Senate Democrats who ran last year: Tim Johnson of South Dakota and Mark Warner of Virginia.
Johnson supports Sotomayor's nomination.
Warner told The Hill on Thursday he intends to support Sotomayor -- and that he was "very disappointed" in the gun lobby. Warner also said he is not worried that Sotomayor will restrict the rights of gun owners.
"I'm very disappointed. [NRA seems] to be going beyond their Second Amendment issues, particularly when I think the judge's positions on those issues are still fairly open," Warner said. "I trust in her judgment and temperament. I think the NRA at some point has gone beyond its mission, and are perhaps allowing themselves to get hijacked by those who are in the extreme."
The NRA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
A Baucus "no" vote against President Barack Obama's high-court nominee would attract national headlines. It would also create a politically awkward situation with the White House as it is trying to prod Baucus to produce a healthcare reform bill.
A "no" will do more than attract national headlines. It will make the Senator a persona non grata in the party. Montana's junior Senator, Jon Tester, will vote to confirm Judge Sotomayor as the nation's 111th Supreme Court Justice. Six Republicans so far have announced their support: Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Lamar Alexander (Tennessee) Lindsey Graham (South Carolina), Richard Lugar (Indiana), Mel Martinez (Florida) and Olympia Snowe (Maine).
While I am sure that Senator Baucus will come to his senses, his indecision is nonetheless rather disconcerting.