Final Sotomayor Vote Set for Thursday Afternoon

Judge Sonia Sotomayor is poised to become the Supreme Court's first Hispanic justice and could be sworn in as early as Friday.

The final day of debate in the full Senate was scheduled to begin Thursday at 10 a.m., with a vote scheduled for about 3 p.m.

Though nearly three-quarters of the Senate's 40 Republicans said they would vote "no," unconvinced that Sotomayor would apply the law with blind justice as required by the Constitution, the 55-year-old judge is expected to have more than enough votes to be confirmed, with all Democrats expected to back her.

Democrats have praised the Bronx-born Puerto Rican-American as a well-qualified judge and a mainstream moderate.

If confirmed, Sotomayor is not expected to alter the court's ideological balance as she would replace retiring Justice David Souter, a liberal named by a Republican president.

But conservatives fear that she will bring bias to the bench, pointing to a few rulings in which they argue she showed disregard for gun rights, property rights and job discrimination claims by white employees.

"There are simply too many alarming rulings from her time as a lower court judge," commented Dr. Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's public policy arm, the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, ahead of this week's debates.

According to a new CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey, the percent of those questioned who say the Senate should confirm Sotomayor is 51 – up 4 points from a poll in June.

The percent of those opposed, meanwhile, was found to be 36.

The poll suggested the rise in support is coming solely from women.