A North-South divide is opening in the Republican Party with regard to the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor.
Sotomayor is all but assured of approval by the Senate Judiciary Committee and confirmation by the full Senate, after a hearing that revealed her conservative critics had come up with little in the way of substantive objections to her record as a jurist.
The question with regard to President Obama’s first nomination for the high court has always come down to a simple test: Will Republicans oppose the first Latina nominee, and only the third female nominee, to serve on the high court simply because she is not a rigidly right-wing judicial activist in the mold of Chief Justice John Roberts?
With a Judiciary Committee vote expected next week, and a full Senate vote before the August recess, members are beginning to announce their preferences with regard to the nomination. And the process is revealing.
Sotomayor is attracting support from Abraham Lincoln Republicans who represent states that stood with the union during the Civil War: Mainers Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins and Indiana’s Richard Lugar.
On the other hand, senators from states of the old Confederacy, as well as border states, are coming out against the nomination. The latest southern foe to announce against Sotomayor was Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker. He joined Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions in announcing his opposition. Senate minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senator Jim Bunning, both from the border state of Kentucky, have also announced their opposition.