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Martinez to vote for Sotomayor; Crist takes heat for no stance

Posted Jul 17, 2009 by William March

Updated Jul 17, 2009 at 02:51 PM

Florida Sen. Mel Martinez has announced he’ll vote for confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor for the U.S. Supreme Court, but Gov. Charlie Crist, who’s running to replace Martinez, is taking heat from political opponents—both Republican and Democratic—because he won’t say how he would vote.

Crist said earlier this week that he might take a position by the time the confirmation hearings ended Thursday. Then on Thursday, he said he wasn’t ready to say whether he would or wouldn’t vote to confirm her, and said he felt no pressure to do so. Some members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, he noted, are still undecided even after spending weeks studying the question and sitting through the hearings.

That wasn’t good enough for Crist’s opponent in the GOP Senate primary, Marco Rubio, who announced Thursday on MOP that he opposes Sotomayor.

“If you want to serve as U.S. senator, people deserve to know where you stand on the issues,” Rubio said in a news story his campaign distributed, which reported that Rubio had taken a stand and Crist hadn’t.

Democrats jumped in, too.

“Why won’t Crist say where he stands on Sotomayor?” asked state party spokesman Eric Jotkoff. “One only has to look at his schedule to see that Crist is focused on everything but governing Florida.”

Martinez, meanwhile, put out a statement today saying Sotomayor “is knowledgeable of the law, would be a fair and impartial judge, and seems to have a good understanding of the limited role the judiciary plays in our democracy.”

“Given her judicial record, and her testimony this week, it is my determination that Judge Sotomayor is well-qualified to serve as Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court,” he said. “As an Hispanic American, I take great pride in Judge Sotomayor’s historic achievement.”