(KCPW News) Utah Senator Orrin Hatch’s decision to vote against the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor tomorrow is somewhat puzzling to one local political analyst. Matt Burbank, chair of the political science department at the University of Utah, notes that Hatch didn’t give many reasons for why he would vote “no.”
“This is somebody who, over the years, has indeed prided himself on looking carefully at what was going on in these hearings, and being fairly careful about trying to support presidential nominees when he can, so it is a little bit different, I’m a little bit surprised by his decision, actually,” said Burbank.
In his nearly 33 years in the senate, Hatch has never before voted against a Supreme Court nominee. In fact, he voted in favor of both of former Democratic President Bill Clinton’s picks.
Senator Bob Bennett, who’s facing several Republican challengers in the 2010 election, was much quicker than Hatch to declare that he would vote against Sotomayor. Professor Burbank says that decision is easier to figure out, given that Bennett’s critics believe he’s not conservative enough.
“I don’t think he wins anything by voting for Sotomayor,” he said. “That has been one of the criticisms of him as a Utah senator, from people who are even more conservative than he is saying that he’s not conservative enough.”
Bennett was more specific than Hatch when announcing why he would oppose Sotomayor’s confirmation, saying he felt the judge did not support the right to bear arms.