In a surprisingly candid statement, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) admitted that his vote to oppose Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor was a “foregone conclusion” eleven years before she was even nominated:
“That was a foregone conclusion,” the Oklahoma Republican said, citing his 1998 opposition to Sotomayor’s nomination to her current post.
“If you voted against anyone on the circuit (court), I have never been able to see how you turn around when the bar is actually higher and support it at a higher level.” … [T]he senator was offered a meeting with the judge but turned it down since he already had made his decision to oppose her nomination and did not wish to take up her time.
Inhofe’s refusal to even consider Sotomayor’s record as a circuit judge is unfortunate, but it is hardly surprising. During the Clinton Administration, Inhofe would frequently throw tantrums such as placing a hold on every single one of President Clinton’s judicial nominees in retaliation for Clinton’s decision to make a recess appointment, or bottling up every one of President Clinton’s civilian nominees in protest of Clinton’s decision to nominate a gay man to an ambassadorship.
This spring, Inhofe announced that he would filibuster President Obama’s nomination of Judge David Hamilton to a federal appeals court because Hamilton allegedly once forbade the Indiana legislature from opening its sessions with Christian prayer, but endorsed the use of Islamic prayer. In reality, Hamilton held that any non-sectarian prayer would be acceptable, and that such a prayer could be offered in a foreign language such as Arabic.
Ultimately, however, Inhofe predicts his own opposition to Sotomayor will be futile:
“She will be definitely confirmed,” he said, adding that other Republicans will be too afraid to vote against Sotomayor because she is a woman and a Hispanic.
“I’m predicting half the Republicans at least will end up supporting her who might not otherwise because of these things I just mentioned.”