KBH Says N-O on Sotomayor
First Cornyn, now Hutchison come down against Supreme Court nominee
By Richard Whittaker,
11:30AM, Wed. Jul. 29, 2009
Interesting times for Texas Senators when it comes to the nomination hearings for Judge Sonia Sotomayor. First, Republican Junior Sen. John Cornyn got Sen. Jeff Sessions to vote against her for him when he didn't bother turning up to this morning's Senate Judiciary Committee meeting (in fact, three of the six nay votes actually had something better to do and voted by proxy instead). Now Republican Senior Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison announces she'll vote no when the nomination reaches the Senate floor.
First, let's all be very clear: Barring some utterly unforeseen circumstance, Sotomayor will be the next appointee to the U.S. Supreme Court. That said, there are two obvious ways to look at this decision.
One: Hutchison has taken a principled stand against a judge that she really doesn't feel should sit on the nation's highest court.
Two: Hutchison is heading into a brutal primary against Gov. Rick Perry and, frankly, she is late to the dance. Her latest statements to right-wing talk radio station WBAP indicate she's thinking of stepping down in October or November, but she needs to get her profile back up fast. Recent polls show her and the incumbent in a statistical tie, so she's failed to capitalize on her early anti-Perry momentum. With centrists arguably lacking from the Republican primary, she may have to start tacking to the Right to get back in the nomination game.
This week has already seen a massive shake-up of her campaign staff. Prior to that, Hutchison had been very coy on the Sotomayor nomination, and there was a lot of discussion that she might step down from Senate before the vote got to the floor. So now she's looking tough by going after Sotomayor as a judicial activist, but also claiming she's anti-Second Amendment (coincidentally, former Comptroller John Sharp is using the same mantra against his Democratic primary opponent for Hutchison's seat, Houston Mayor Bill White).
Democrats, unsurprisingly, are putting this down to naked political ambition. In a press release, Texas Democratic Party Chair Boyd Richie said, "The appointment of a Supreme Court nominee should be about that person's qualifications – not about Republican primary politics. Unfortunately, Sen. Hutchison is more concerned with making politically motivated decisions to compete with Gov. Perry for Republican primary voters than in doing what's right."