- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 22, 2009

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham says he’ll vote for Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor, breaking with his party’s conservative leaders.

The South Carolinian had hinted during Sotomayor’s confirmation hearings that he might back President Barack Obama’s first high court nominee. His announcement brings the total number of Republicans publicly backing her to five.

Graham is generally conservative but has been known to flash a maverick streak similar to his mentor, Sen. John McCain of Arizona. The other Republicans who’ve said they’ll vote for Sotomayor, who would be the first Hispanic justice, are all moderates.

The 55-year-old appeals court judge is expected to win confirmation in early August.

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