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Sotomayor clears Senate committee, but gun lobby pressuring Republicans to vote no on Senate floor (Updated with video)

Judge Sonia Sotomayor testifying during Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings on her nomination to the Supreme Court

(Updated 9:31 a.m.: Sonia Sotomayor wins the backing of the Senate Judiciary Committee. See the 13-6 committee roll call vote on the video below. Her nomination now goes to the full Senate for a vote, possibly next week. For Californians, or those who simply like Democrat Sen. Diane Feinstein, we've also included at the bottom a video of her brief statement in support of the judge.)

When President Obama's first nomination for the Supreme Court reaches the Senate floor, probably next week, the dilemma for Republican senators will be choosing between their gun-loving constituents and their Latino ones.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is about to confirm Judge Sonia Sotomayor (see the excellent piece by my Ticket colleague Kate Linthicum on how to pronounce her name). Judging from their speeches so far this morning, all the committee's Republicans -- except South Carolina's Lindsey Graham -- are expected to vote no.

One reason: the National Rifle Assn. has been ratcheting up the pressure in recent days to oppose Sotomayor, calling her "hostile" to the 2nd Amendment and promising to use the confirmation vote when the powerful lobby group calculates its ratings of lawmakers' voting records. 

Four Latino congressmen -- who are considered pro-gun -- fired back. “We are concerned that your opposition will alienate Hispanic NRA members and dismayed that you may unnecessarily force some well-intentioned senators to choose between disappointing the NRA or....

... infuriating their Hispanic constituents,” wrote Reps. Joe Baca of Rialto, Solomon P. Ortiz and Silvestre Reyes of Texas and John Salazar of Colorado.

As Illinois Democrat Sen. Richard J. Durbin put it this morning, Sotomayor was only following the law in the case that inspired NRA opposition.

-- Johanna Neuman

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Videos courtesy of C-SPAN. Photo: Jason Reed / Reuters

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The support of the right to keep and bear arms is not a Latino, English, Chinese or any other race or nationality. it is a right like the 1st amendment and the 4th amendment and this nominee does not believe that it is your right, but it is and if she is confirmed she will encroach on that right.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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