Georgia’s two Republican senators are taking a cautious approach to President Obama’s appointment of Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court, while a top Georgia congressional Democrat praised the selection.
U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Albany, said he was impressed with Sotomayor’s background, which has included the last 16 years on the federal bench.“She has a broad background in judicial experience and life experience,” Bishop said. “She brings to the court a breadth of experience that the president indicated none of the sitting justices brought to the court at the time of their appointments.”
The fact that she was appointed to the federal bench -- first as a U.S. District judge in 1992 then to the Appeals Court, Second Circuit in 1997 -- by two different presidents speaks well, Bishop said.
“She has been confirmed twice by the Senate,” he said. “I am certain it will be a thorough process, but she has been confirmed twice already and has the judicial temperament in the eyes and the wisdom of the Senate to have been qualified for two judicial appointments.”
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Georgia’s two Republican U.S. senators -- Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson -- issued similar statements shortly after Sotomayor’s appointment was announced. Sotomayor must be confirmed by the Democratic-controlled Senate.
“I have consistently stated that Supreme Court nominees must not engage in legislating from the bench, but must interpret the laws as they have been passed,” Chambliss’ initial statement read. “The Senate deserves an appropriate amount of time to review this nominee. I look forward to a dignified and thorough confirmation process.”
“I look forward to a thorough examination and debate of her credentials and legal views during the Senate confirmation process.” Isakson’s statement read. “I believe a qualified judge is one who understands the value and the strength and the power of the Constitution of the United States of America, who will rule based on the law, and who will not legislate based on the position.”
Columbus attorney Frank Myers, a former chairman of the Muscogee County Democratic Party, said the confirmation process should be easy “unless there is something negative in her personal background that we don’t know about.”
“There are four reasons why,” Myers said. “One, she was originally appointed by the first President Bush. Two, she is replacing a perceived liberal, so the balance of the court is not at stake. Three, she is going to be the first Latino justice, which will make it politically difficult for the Republicans to oppose here. Finally, it not worth the use of any substantial political capital to oppose her because the Republicans will eventually lose the fight.”