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Published: Friday, 7/31/2009

Closer to the court

ALONG lines that were unnecessarily partisan, the Senate Judiciary Committee has voted to send the nomination of President Obama's first choice for the Supreme Court, Judge Sonia Sotomayor, to the floor for a vote.

Because of the Democrats' 60-seat majority, full Senate approval is expected before the body goes into its summer recess on Aug. 7, which will make it possible for the nominee to join the court when its new term opens in October.

The choice by Mr. Obama was a strong one, based on Ms. Sotomayor's long and broad judicial experience and compelling personal story, not to mention the diversity she will bring as the first Hispanic and only the third woman to serve on the court.

Twelve Democrats, but only one Republican, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, voted to approve her nomination in committee. Among the six Republicans who voted against her were several from states with significant Hispanic populations, including Sens. John Cornyn of Texas, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, John Kyl of Arizona, and Orrin Hatch of Utah, making their votes politically curious.

Judge Sotomayor will be a worthy addition to the nation's highest court. She deserves quick confirmation - by better than a party-line vote.

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