Graham: Barring meltdown, Sotomayor in

July 13, 2009 at 1:15 PM
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WASHINGTON, July 13 (UPI) -- Unless she falls apart, Judge Sonia Sotomayor will be confirmed as a U.S. Supreme Court justice, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said Monday.

"Now, unless you have a complete meltdown, you're going to get confirmed," Graham said during the first day of Sotomayor's confirmation hearings.

While her confirmation seems assured, he said, aspects of her record on and off the bench are troubling.

"(My) Republican colleagues who vote against you, I assure you, could vote for a Hispanic nominee," Graham said. "They just feel unnerved by your speeches and by some of the things that you've said and some of your cases."

But, he added, his point is that he will not hold it against her that she has opinions and positions differing from his own.

In Sotomayor, President Barack Obama nominated someone of good character, who has lived a very full and fruitful life and "who is passionate," Graham said.

"From Day 1, from the time you got a chance to showcase who you are, you've stood out and you've stood up and you've been a strong advocate and you will speak your mind," he said.

He then fretted about the tenor of recent confirmation hearings.

"(The) one thing I'm worried about is that if we keep doing what we're doing, we're going to deter people from speaking their mind," Graham said. "I don't want milk toast judges. I want you to be able to speak your mind, but you've got to understand that when you gave these speeches as a sitting judge, that was disturbing to me."

While saying he didn't know how he would vote, Graham conceded, "my inclination is that elections matter. And I'm not going to be upset with any of my colleagues who find that you're a bridge too far ... ."

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