From NBC's Ken Strickland, Pete Williams and Domenico Montanaro
Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and John Cornyn will vote against Sonia Sotomayor
to be the next United States Supreme Court justice.
Hatch's no vote is interesting for two reasons: First, he has voted FOR every Supreme Court nominee since he came to the Senate. That includes two nominees of a Democratic president during his tenure -- Ginsburg and Breyer. Second, Hatch's declaration, especially when he was considered a possible yes vote, will undoubtedly lead other wavering Republicans to vote against her.
Video: NBC's Pete Williams reports on Sen. Orrin Hatch's, R-Utah, announcement.
"[Her] statements and record were too much at odds with the principles about the judiciary in which I deeply believe," Hatch said in a statement.
This greatly reduces the prospect that she will get as many votes as John Roberts did (78, including 22 Democrats) and may put her down in the neighborhood of Samuel Alito. He was confirmed with 58 votes, with support from just four Democrats -- the third-smallest confirmation margin in the past 50 years.
Cornyn said he was certain Sotomayor would be confirmed, but he still had questions about her public statements. "It is with regret and some sadness that I will vote against her," Cornyn said, adding, "I wish her well and congratulate her on her historic achievement."
Sotomayor would be the first Hispanic justice. Cornyn said she'll be an "inspiration" to young Latinos, but he was unconvinced during her hearings of "'who is the real judge Sonia Sotomayor."
He said even though her judicial record appears to be in the American mainstream, he still had questions about her public speeches, and that she did not adequately clear up confusion. He also said he simply disagrees with those who say Sotomayor's speeches should be ignored because of her long judicial record.
He also continued to express frustration with Democrats' filibuster of Miguel Estrada, nominated in 2003 for the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. Estrada, Cornyn said, could have been the first Hispanic nominated to the Supreme Court, and he would have supported him.
Cornyn said he hopes Sotomayor suprises him -- just as David Souter, whom Sotomayor would be replacing -- surprised Republicans and former President George H.W. Bush, who nominated Souter for the high court.
"Maybe she will surprise all of us," Cornyn said.