The Senate Judicary Committee confirmation hearings for Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination to the Supreme Court are for all purposes over and with the preliminaries over, we can move to vote of the committee and then the full Senate. With Democrats holding a comfortable margin over the Republicans, it’s not a matter of “if” Sotomayor will be confirmed, but how many Republican votes will she get.
I’m feeling optimistic. I’ll give her ten votes from the right side of the aisle.
Journalists who cover the legal scene denounced the hearings as “boring” and complained that Sotomayor was so prepped and scripted by the White House that she revealed almost nothing about herself. Dahlia Lithwick at SLATE sighed, “What we haven’t learned is anything more about her views on guns, gay marriage, abortion, military tribunals, or eminent domain. We may actually know less about her views on these matters today than we did going into these hearings.”
I have an immense amount of admiration for Lithwick as a journalist and a far better interpreter of these type of proceedings than I ever could be. For legal reporters, a Supreme Court confirmation hearing is like a sportswriter covering The Super Bowl. But both events are highly scripted and not terribly newsworthy. Both the politicians and the coaches stick to their scripts and rehearsed lines. The only thing spontaneous about the Sotomayor hearings were the abortion protesters yelling out from the cheap seats.
What we learned was a lot we already knew. Judge Sotomayor’s 17-years of experience is well within the mainstream of American jurisprudence and there’s nothing there to suggest she permits her ethnicity to influence her for or against a plantiff based upon their race. She’s smart, possesses a good memory and knows how to dance backwards and away from every rhetorical trap the frustrated Republican minority laid for her.
I watched the opening remarks made by the panel on the first day and after than I was done. This was a study in math and forgone conclusions. The math is 60 votes for the Democrats and 40 for the Republicans. The forgone conclusion was no matter how much trash Boss Limbaugh talked, the Republicans weren’t going to go into the 2010 elections pissing off the Hispanic vote by vainly trying to derail Sotomayor’s nomination.
Sitting to Chairman Patrick Leahy’s right was one Jefferson Beauregard Sessions whom once was sitting where Sotomayor sat for four days. When Sessions was being considered for a seat on the federal judiciary, he was asked about disparaging remarks he had made about the NAACP and ACLU and why he had called a Black attorney “boy” and warned him “be careful how you speak to White folks.”
Look at where Sessions is now. A failed nominee as a federal judge, he now sits on the same committee that rejected his own nomination and passes judgment on others for their ill-chosen remarks.
Apparently, you can eventually be forgiven for your intemperate and poorly-chosen words and particularly so if you’re part of the “good ol’ boy” network of the U.S. Senate.
Hypocrisy is the greatest luxury.
Senator Lindsay Graham is probably the most likely Republican to vote for Sotomayor but he was also the most annoyingly condescending, patronizing and sexist when he asked her if she had a “temperament” problem and “anger management” issues. This from a guy who was John “Cranky” McCain’s butt boy last year?
If Graham thinks Judge Sotomayor needs “anger management” what’s his good buddy McCain need? A straitjacket and a syringe full of Zoloft?
Not too patronizing, condescending and sexist Senator Graham.
Oh wait. Yes, you absolutely were.
I don’t think Graham needs to be bitch-slapped. I do however have a metal baseball bat I’d like to introduce to his kneecaps.
Anyone wondering why Congress can’t find their way out of a open closet needed to watch the questions being thrown at Sotomayor by both the Dems and Repubs.
They were multiple variations of the same five or six questions she couldn’t answer because they may come before her on the Court or questions she wouldn’t answer because it would just put her ass on the hot seat.
The Dems lobbed lazy softballs and the Repubs tried to throw heat but most of it was regurgitated versions of the “wise Latina” remark. It seemed it was only a matter of time before Senators Cornyn or Kyl pointed a finger at Sotomayor and barked, “Why do you hate White men?” Do a bunch of 50-something year old White guys part of a party that seems clueless how to talk or relate to minority groups really want to talk about race and bias?
Sotomayor’s job wasn’t to provide sounbites for Faux News or must-see television. She was happy to drone on in a monotone and to remain poised, charming and utterly unperturbed by the seven sorry senators tasked with the unhappy job of trying to make the 55-year-old jurist come off as some raving liberal, White man-hating Latina.
All she had to do was whether the questions posed by the Seven Dwarfs for 210 minutes and not say anything stupid. Fortunately, the Republicans went out of their way to fill the void.
How many of these senators slip out of their suits and ties and back into their clown costumes when the cameras are off?