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Sotomayor roundup: How Republicans will vote

Six GOP senators have announced their intentions ahead of Tuesday's Judiciary Committee vote on the Supreme Court nominee.

By Tracey D. SamuelsonContributor / July 27, 2009

U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee ranking Republican Senator Jeff Sessions (r.) (R-AL) and Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) listen to the testimony of Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor at committee confirmation hearings on Capitol Hill in Washington July 14.

Jason Reed/Reuters

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As the Senate Judiciary Committee approaches its Tuesday vote on the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor, six of the seven Republican committee members have now announced that they will toe the party line with their vote tomorrow.

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Sens. Jeff Sessions and Charles Grassley announced Monday that they will not vote for Judge Sotomayor, joining three other Republican senators – Orrin Hatch, John Cornyn, and Jon Kyl – who had previously announced their opposition.

That leaves Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina as the lone Republican committee member to declare his support for the Bronx-born judge. Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma has yet to announce his decision.

The partisan split of Tuesday’s vote is no surprise. Recent Senate Judiciary Committee votes have also largely fallen along party lines. Most notably, during Justice Samuel Alito’s confirmation in 2005, not a single committee member crossed party lines – the first instance of strict party-line voting in 90 years.

The senators

Senator Sessions, the committee’s top-ranking Republican, told USA Today that he “must withhold [his] consent” in tomorrow’s vote and that he doesn’t “believe that Judge Sotomayor has the deep-rooted convictions necessary to resist the siren call of judicial activism.”

Senator Graham announced his party-defying support for Sotomayor on the Senate floor Wednesday, saying, “I understand the path of least resistance for me would be to vote no … but I feel compelled to vote yes.”