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Senate Expected to Confirm Sotomayor Today

After a 12-hour “debate” yesterday during which senators largely repeated the same arguments for and against Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor that we heard during her confirmation hearing, the Senate is set to vote on the nominee today.

Although there’s no question that Sotomayor will be confirmed, she’s expected to receive only about ten Republican votes, at best, dashing President Obama’s initial hopes of winning strong bipartisan support for his first high court nominee. Concerns about guns, property rights and her alleged bias in favor of Latinas have dominated the Republicans’ explanations for why they won’t support her — though payback for Obama’s frequently mentioned votes as a senator against Justices John Roberts and Samuel Alito, and the Democrats’ refusal to allow a vote on appeals court nominee Miguel Estrada, also seemed to motivate Sotomayor’s GOP opponents.

Given that Sotomayor will be the first Hispanic on the Supreme Court, the strong Republican opposition could have costs for the party.

As Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) said at a rally yesterday: “To say you cannot vote for this qualified Latina sends a message to us, as a community, that we will not forget.”

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