Page last updated at 19:33 GMT, Friday, 17 July 2009 20:33 UK

Sotomayor wins Republican support

Sonia Sotomayor
Ms Sotomayor is expected to win her Senate confirmation vote easily

Sonia Sotomayor, US President Barack Obama's nominee for the US Supreme Court, has received endorsements from three Republican senators.

Ms Sotomayor's nomination needs to be approved by the US Senate before she can take up her seat on the court.

She was questioned for three days this week about her judicial philosophy by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Observers say Ms Sotomayor performed well in the hearings and her nomination is likely to be approved in the Senate.

'Lack of respect'

The Republican senators who endorsed Ms Sotomayor were Richard Lugar, Mel Martinez and Olympia Snowe.

"I was pleased that Judge Sotomayor repeatedly recognized in her responses this week that 'the job of a judge is to apply the law' rather than independently make policy, and that it is the law, rather than one's own sympathies that 'compels conclusions in cases'," Senator Snowe said in a statement.

Ms Sotomayor is almost certain to win the support of all 60 Democrats in the Senate, as well as the votes of a number of moderate Republicans.

The top Senate Republican, Mitch McConnell, is expected to express his opposition to Ms Sotomayor, however, in a speech on Monday.

Ms Sotomayor's past statements indicate an "alarming lack of respect for the notion of equal justice", Mr McConnell is expected to say.

During her confirmation hearings, Ms Sotomayor was criticised by a number of Republican senators for a comment she made in earlier speeches that a "wise latina" would make better judgements than a white male judge.

Before the full Senate decides on her nomination, it will be voted on by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The committee's vote is expected on Tuesday.

If, as expected, Ms Sotomayor's nomination is approved, she will take her judicial oath and join the court in early September.

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