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McCain decides to vote no on Sotomayor

Federal Judge Sonia Sotomayor on day three of her Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings

Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain has made it official.

He really likes federal Judge Sonia Sotomayor. Thinks she's got an excellent resume. An inspiring life story. Heck, he even thinks she has the professional qualifications to be a Supreme Court justice.

But yesterday he took to the Senate floor to explain that he's voting against her nomination. He suspects she's one of those activists judges who will legislate from the bench.

"Regardless of one's success in academics and in government service, an individual who does not appreciate the common-sense limitations on judicial power in our democratic system of government ultimately lacks a key qualification for a lifetime appointment to the bench," McCain explained.

Hard to know what role politics played in the decision.

McCain is up for reelection next year in a state with an increasing Latino population, so the vote could spell trouble. In fact he went out of his way during Monday's speech to note that he backed the nomination of Miguel Estrada to the federal appeals court, a Bush administration nomination ultimately pulled because of Democratic opposition. As he himself explained to CNN after the election last year, "Unless we reverse the trend of Hispanic voter registration, we [Republicans] have a very, very deep hole that we've got to come out of."

On the other hand, the National Rifle Assn. has for the first time weighed in on a judicial appointment, targeting Sotomayor as hostile to the 2nd Amendment and warning senators thinking about voting yes that the NRA will use that vote against them. The powerful gun lobby may have swayed McCain, along with Republicans on the Judiciary Committee, where South Carolina's Lindsey Graham -- ironically a key McCain ally -- was the only Republican to back Sotomayor.

With the Senate scheduled to vote on the nomination this week, most think Sotomayor will be confirmed as the nation's first Latina and third female justice.

Still, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs called it "disappointing" that McCain decided not to back Sotomayor just after visiting the White House and "talking about bipartisanship."

There's a fair amount of turn-about-is-fair-play here.

While a senator, Barack Obama voted against former President George W. Bush's nominations of Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.  and Associate Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. Saying it was fair to hold the nominees accountable for their ideology as well as their qualifications, the future president also voted in favor of filibustering Alito's confirmation vote.

-- Johanna Neuman

Photo: Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor on Day 3 of her confirmation hearings in July. Credit: Charles Dharapak / Associated Press

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In case there was any doubt, John McCain just ended his political career. The "I can work both sides" so-called Maverick rationalized his purely partisan decision with one twisted talking point after the next. He's playing to the most extreme right wing edge of the Republican Party and will never get a Hispanic vote for the entire rest of his (short) political career.

What a shame, he could have done so much better.

Everything I read on this judge from the left is, "mexican vote" this, and "Mexican vote" that..."Hispanics rally for Sotomayer", etc. etc.
Makes me really, REALLY dislike the "HIspanic" population as a whole. Having grown up in Highland Park, I NEVER used to give race a second though, but now, I find myself really filed with resent for Mexicans. Their manipulations of the term "Racism" have made the word itself all but meaningless...The claims of racism are BS, and to all you mexicans reading this, you are bringing hatred upon yourselves with all these cries of unfair treatment! I tell you, people are fed up! White, and black, and asian! The bottom line is, as was suggested to me by a young "Mexican" man who cut in front on me in line at the hardware store, "WE are taking over, get used to it..."
As a retired Navy SEAL, I could easily have shown him otherwise...The machismo and arrogance the mexican population is exhibiting is just astounding! I have no doubt, based on her past politics and endeavors, that Sotomayer is just like the young man in the hardware store, just a bit more educated, though just as stupid, based on her rhetoric. Her words are indicative of the self constraint she lacks, and the deeply rooted resent she harbors for the white race, which, whether anyone would like to admit it or not, is the race that established the philosophies that have made America so strong. Mexicans should be thanking the white establishment, not trying to destroy it bit by bit, which is their agenda, to what avail, I wonder? Would they like to see America like Mexico? It all makes no sense...In fact, the more I see, the more obvious it is that Mexicans are the racists these days.

McCain is showing his "true" tendancies here (spell check won't catch that) by not just VOTING down this woman but also disrespecting Spaniards all together. As a lifelong Chicago who has lived the last 35 years in D.C., I see this every day and I look forward to the day a Spanish woman can be the Chief Justice of The Unidos Estadios!

Sonia Sotomayor Lied to Senate giving False Testimony According to Supreme Court Unanimous Ruling in Case 06-766

For Four days 2nd Circuit Court Judge Sonia Sotomayor Falsely told Senators Jeff Sessions, Arlen Spector, Lindsey Graham, Russ Feingold, Jon Kyl, Herb Kohl, Richard Durbin & many Other Senators she holds Laws Congress & Legislatures passed in esteem & won't overturn them unless the Laws passed violate the Constitution or precedent. The Supreme Court ruling 9-0 held Sotomayor's 2nd Circuit Court did what she claim's she never did & claims will never do in the future.

Supreme Court Case 06-766 Dedided January 16, 2008 New York State BOARD of ELECTIONS v. LOPEZ TORRES unanimously found New York election law was ignored by the 2nd Circuit with no support in the Constitution or in Supreme Court election law precedent. Opinion findings of 2 liberals Stevens & Souter concurred. The Question is will Senators that received & witnessed false testimony ever vote for Judge Sotomayor. Find Supreme Court ruling at Government WEBsite:

Supreme Court Justice Scalia delivered opinion, Roberts, Stevens, Souter, Thomas, Ginsburg, Breyer & Alito joining, wrote New York "has thrice...displayed a willingness to reconsider its method of selecting Supreme Court Justices. If it wishes to return to the primary system that it discarded in 1921, it is free to do so; but the First Amendment does not compel that. We reverse the Second Circuit's contrary judgment." and "To be sure, we have, as described above, permitted States to set their faces against "party bosses" by requiring party-candidate selection through processes more favorable to insurgents, such as primaries. But to say that the State can require this is a far cry from saying that the Constitution demands it. None of our cases establishes an individual's constitutional right to have a "fair shot" at winning the party's nomination. And with good reason. What constitutes a "fair shot" is a reasonable enough question for legislative judgment,…But it is hardly a manageable constitutional question for judges - especially for judges in our legal system, where traditional electoral practice gives no hint of even the existence, much less the content, of a constitutional requirement for a "fair shot" at party nomination."

Justices Kennedy & Breyer wrote/concurred, "Rule of law is secured only by the principled exercise of political will. If New York statutes for nominating and electing judges do not produce both the perception and the reality of a system committed to the highest ideals of the law, they ought to be changed and to be changed now. But, as the Court today holds, and for further reasons given in this separate opinion, the present suit does not permit us to invoke the Constitution in order to intervene."

Justice Stevens wrote with Justice Souter concurring, "But as I recall my esteemed former colleage, Thurgood Marshall, remarking on numerous occasions: 'The Constitution does not prohibit legislatures from enacting stupid laws. '"

The Supreme Court opinion is clear that Judge Sotomayor & 2nd Circuit are not reticent to impose "personal judgment" of what they "think should be the law" & what is a "fair shot" no matter what Laws passed by the legislature say, even if there is no justification in Constitution or Supreme Court precedent for their actions.

Should any Judge guilty of this false testimony while under oath to tell the truth and nothing but the truth be approved to sit on the highest court in our country? NO! Judges that lie under oath should not be seated on the Supreme Court! Impeachment charges should be brought against Judge Sotomayor and she should not be voted for, to be placed on the Supreme Court! Contact Senartors Collins & Snowe and tell them they better not do as they have said they plan to do, that is vote to confirm Judge Sotomayor to the Supreme Court.

Don, that was a dreadful comment.

There is a major difference between Spaniards (people from Spain) and Hispanics (any persons of Spanish ancestry, including Latin Americans), especially since the people you mean to discuss are Latin Americans, not the Spanish. Sotomayor is NOT Spanish; she is Latina, from The Bronx, with parents from Puerto Rico (which, tangentially, is very different culturally than Mexico, Runester, but I digress).

Your comments are McCain are categorically incorrect -- McCain has been very supportive of the legal Hispanic population over the years, as seen by his support of immigration reform and he statement to CNN (quoted in the article).

Even your attempt at Spanish falls short. I believe you meant to Estados Unidos, unless, of course, there's some United Stadiums organization out there with a Chief Justice.

That all said, I think McCain (whom I supported for president and continue to support as a senator) is mistaking. I think a vote for Sotomayor (who will probably win the appointment anyways) here would win over the Independents, who have been his greatest supporters over the years, and the Hispanic population, who he has worked on bipartisan legislation to assist.


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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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