- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Senate on Wednesday held its second day of debate on the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor, a day that featured partisan attacks that had at least one retiring lawmaker pining for less divisive court battles.

With the New York appeals court judge’s confirmation considered a foregone conclusion, President Obama picked up at least two more Republican votes for his first pick to the high court. Republican Sens. Christopher S. Bond of Missouri and Judd Gregg of New Hampshire said they would vote for Judge Sotomayor.

More than enough senators have already pledged their support for her to win confirmation, but senators still used Wednesday’s debate to stake out their positions and lay down markers for future confirmation votes. To date, eight Republicans have announced plans to vote for the judge and 30 will vote against her.

Neither Mr. Bond nor Mr. Gregg is running for re-election next year. Both said they were voting to confirm Judge Sotomayor even though they did not agree with many of her rulings.

Like other Republican senators, Mr. Bond chastised Mr. Obama for voting against both of President George W. Bush’s Supreme Court nominees when Mr. Obama was in the Senate. But Mr. Bond said he would not follow that precedent.

“Luckily for President Obama, I do not agree with Senator Obama,” Mr. Bond said Wednesday.

Judge Sotomayor, 55, is set to be confirmed as the high court’s first Hispanic justice and third female justice by the week’s end.

A poll of 1,136 Americans released by CNN on Wednesday showed that 51 percent of those questioned support Judge Sotomayor, while 36 percent oppose her.

A final vote on Judge Sotomayor’s nomination could come as early as Thursday, before the Senate leaves for its August recess. The vote would give Judge Sotomayor time to prepare for the Supreme Court’s next term which begins in October.

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