Some Clarification on Wicker and Cochran’s Opposition to Sotomayor

2009 July 23
tags: Roger Wicker, Sonia Sotomayor, Thad Cochran
by Brett

Over the past two days, Senators Cochran and Wicker have announced their intention to oppose the nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. They both gave slightly different reasons for their upcoming NO votes, and here are the official press releases (Wicker, Cochran).

Both Cochran and Wicker have taken some heat in the press, specifically from Sid Salter and David Hampton (here and here). In there blog posts, they make the point that Republicans rightly claimed that the Democrats were obstructing Pres. Bush’s nominees to various courts; and what Cochran and Wicker are doing is no different.

However, that is not entirely true. During the Bush years, the Democrats used a filibuster to stop judicial nominees. While the judges all had the 51 votes needed to be confirmed, they did not have 60. Therefore, the Democrats used that tactic to prevent an up-or-down vote.

I exchanged a couple emails with staffers from the offices of both Senators Wicker and Cochran and received a little more clarification on how they will vote. Cochran’s office said that his announcement was regarding the up-and-down vote and that they do not see a filibuster attempt by the Republican leadership. Wicker’s office said there has been no decision to support a filibuster at this point.

As for my perspective on this, I can easily see why Cochran and Wicker are opposing Sotomayor and I believe that is in line with the will of Mississippians. After all, in 2008 the state voted for two Republican Senators and a Republican presidential candidate. I do not think I am going out on a limb to say the state did not (and does not) want Obama’s judicial nominees. If they did, they would have voted for him.

In the end, Sotomayor is going to be confirmed. Because of this, I think the Republicans should hold off their fire (i.e., a filibuster) for now so they can carry the mantle of fairness when it comes to handling judicial nominees which can be very important down the road.

Update: The Mississippi Democrat Party joins the nonsense of calling Cochran hypocritical. Please learn the difference between invoking cloture and a final vote.

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