The Senate Judiciary Committee did more than approve Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination to the Supreme Court today. It also reported Office of Legal Policy nominee Christopher Schroeder and other nominees to the Senate by voice vote.
The appointees reported by voice vote include: Thomas McLellan to be deputy director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy; Alejandro Mayorkas to be director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services at the Department of Homeland Security; and Cranston J. Mitchell to be a commissioner of the U.S. Parole Commission.
The senators present did not make any specific comments regarding Schroeder during the meeting today. But ranking member Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) said Republicans had “some concern about the nominees.”
Schroeder’s nomination for the DOJ office that oversees judicial nominations and legal policy has flown a bit under the radar. First, President Obama’s original choice for the job, Mayer Brown partner Mark Gitenstein, withdrew under fire from liberal groups outraged about his advocacy of tort reform on behalf of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Then, Schroeder’s June 24 confirmation hearing was disrupted and cut short by a Senate quorum call to consider impeachment charges against Texas U.S. District Judge Samuel Kent. Read our previous post about the OLP nominee here.
The 19 senators present did, however, have a lot to say about Sotomayor.
She passed the panel by a 13-6 vote that was mostly along party lines. Sessions and Republican Sens. Orrin Hatch (Utah), Charles Grassley (Iowa), Jon Kyl (Ariz.), John Cornyn (Texas) and Tom Coburn (Okla.) voted against reporting Sotomayor to the Senate. Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) was the only Republican to vote in favor of sending Sotomayor to the Senate.
Graham said today during the meeting that Sotomayor’s “wise Latina” remarks “did bug the hell out” of him. But he said those comments were not enough for him to vote against what he called a “competent” and “well qualified” nominee.
Hatch echoed many of the sentiments of the dissenting Republicans in his statement before the panel today.
“In the end, Judge Sotomayor’s record regarding her approach left too many unresolved controversies and too many conflicts with fundamental principles about the judiciary in which I deeply believe,” Hatch said. “As a result, I regret that I cannot support her appointment to the Supreme Court.”
Read our previous post about the Republican opposition to Sotomayor here.