A Beautiful Moment

I must admit that watching this brought tears of joys. It was a beautiful moment that validates the countless hours waged by us all in our struggle for a more perfect union.

Congratulations to Judge Sotomayor and long may she serve this nation that we all so love.

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Senator Baucus Undecided on Sotomayor

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.

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Senator Franken on Judicial Activism

I mentioned this earlier but Senator Franken's statement yesterday at close of the Judiciary Committee's vote on the confirmation of Judge Sonia Sotomayor is such a thing of a beauty that it deserves its own post. Enjoy every delicious word.

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Sotomayor Clears Committee

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday approved Sonia Sotomayor's nomination to the Supreme Court on a mostly straight party-line vote. The final tally was 13 to 6 in favor with GOP Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina joining the dozen Democrats on the Committee. More from the New York Times:

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted, 13 to 6, on Tuesday to endorse the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor, easing her path to likely confirmation as the first Hispanic member of the tribunal.

As expected, all 12 Democrats on the judiciary panel voted for Judge Sotomayor, after praising her intellect, character and inspiring personal history. But among the seven Republicans on the committee, only Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina voted in favor.

The committee action sends the nomination to the full Senate, where her confirmation by a comfortable margin seems to be assured.

The vote might be significant in another way however. The newest member of the Senate, Senator Al Franken (I will never tire of saying this), spoke truth to power right before the vote. More below the fold.

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Only the Margin is in Doubt

There was never any real doubt that Sonia Sotomayor would be confirmed as the nation's 111th Supreme Court Justice. Only the margin of confirmation was in doubt. How many Republicans would vote to confirm? That question is beginning to get answered late this week after Judge Sotomayor breezed through her confirmation hearings. Late today came word that GOP Senators Dick Lugar of Indiana, Mel Martinez of Florida and Olympia Snowe of Maine would vote to confirm. Not surprising, Senator Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will vote against confirmation. More from the New York Times:

OP Sens. Richard Lugar of Indiana, the Senate's most senior Republican, Mel Martinez of Florida, its lone Hispanic Republican, and Olympia Snowe of Maine all announced they'd vote for Sotomayor, praising her qualifications and her testimony at four days of Judiciary Committee hearings this week.

''I was pleased that Judge Sotomayor repeatedly recognized in her responses this week that 'the job of a judge is to apply the law' rather than independently make policy, and that it is the law, rather than one's own sympathies that 'compels conclusions in cases,' '' Snowe said in a statement.

McConnell planned a speech Monday in which he'll say the 55-year-old appeals court judge's past statements demonstrate an ''alarming lack of respect for the notion of equal justice,'' and question her ability to separate her sympathies and prejudices from her decisions.

McConnell joins other GOP conservatives who are lining up firmly against Sotomayor, including Sen. Robert Bennett, R-Utah, who announced Friday that he'll vote no, citing her position on gun rights and comments he said indicate ''a tendency toward judicial activism.'' But with solid backing from Democrats, who enjoy a lopsided majority, and a growing number of Republicans, there's virtually no doubt the judge will be confirmed as the 111th Supreme Court justice.

Republicans have said they won't try to block or even delay a vote to confirm her, which is expected in early August.

Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, the senior Republican on the Judiciary Committee, said Thursday that neither he nor any GOP senator he knows of is interested in holding up the vote. The panel is likely to cast the first votes on Sotomayor's nomination in late July, although Democrats were pushing for a committee vote as soon as Tuesday.

The sooner the better.

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