This was in todays Des Moines Register: Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley said today he planned to oppose the confirmation of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court when the Senate Judiciary Committee votes on her nomination Tuesday.

The vote, which Grassley announced to The Des Moines Register, marks the first time Grassley will have opposed a high-court nominee in his 29 years on the committee.

Grassley said Sotomayor did little to dispel his suspicions that the federal appeals court judge would not defer to the role of Congress in making law and the separation of powers. He said that has been a nagging concern for him about retiring Justice David Souter, whom Sotomayor would succeed on the court.

"And consequently, I don't want someone succeeding him who doesn't have a clear role of what the Supreme Court is," Grassley told The Des Moines Register.

Grassley, the Judiciary Committee's No. 2 Republican, is the fifth of seven
Republicans on the committee to announce plans to oppose Sotomayor, President
Barack Obama's first high-court nominee.

Sotomayor's confirmation is not in doubt, considering the Democrats' 60-vote majority in the Senate.

Grassley said his vote in part is based on second thoughts he has had about Souter, confirmed in 1990.

"I can say my vote for him is probably the only vote for 11 or 12 Supreme Court justices that has come back to haunt me from time to time," Grassley said. "I think Judge Sotomayor's very lukewarm answer that she gave me left me with the same pit in my stomach I had as a result of my vote for Souter."

Four of the seven Republicans on the committee had already announced their plan to vote against Sotomayor, including ranking Republican Jeff Sessions of Alabama.


The vote puts Grassley in line with Sessions, whom Grassley is set to succeed as the ranking minority member on the committee, should he be re-elected next year.

Grassley had quizzed Sotomayor during confirmation hearings two weeks ago on the separation of powers, property rights and the role of precedent involving an almost 40-year-old gay-marriage case.

Grassley also said Sotomayor did not answer to his satisfaction questions about a New Haven, Conn., firefighters case.

The Supreme Court last month overturned an appeals court decision that affirmed the city's actions in throwing out a promotion test when no African-American applicants qualified for promotion.

Grassley also said Sotomayor had not eased his fears that she would be guided in decision-making partly by her life's experience.

"It seems to me answers to the questions she gave us about that don't comport with what she actually said or adequate explanation overcoming doubts about her statements," he said.

Grassley, elected in 1980, has been a member of the committee since taking office in 1981 and is the longest-serving active Republican on the committee.

Sessions became ranking member in May, when Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania defected to the Democratic Party. Grassley, ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, is barred by Senate rules from serving as ranking party
member in both committees.

The committee agreed to make Grassley ranking Republican in the next Congress, which begins in January 2011.

In his 29 years as a Judiciary Committee member, he has supported the confirmation of the president's Supreme Court nominations in each instance.

He participated in the confirmation of eight of the nine sitting justices, plus retired Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and failed nominee Robert Bork. He was also on the committee for William Rehnquist's promotion to chief justice in 1986.