As predicted and expected, the Senate Sotomayor hearing this morning has been marinated in rhetoric about “overcoming adversity.” (Plus two disruptions from protesters. Immediately quelled by Capitol police.)
Sen. Feinstein praised Sotomayor’s “warmth.” (Did she take her temperature?)
Sen. Kyl made a measured, comprehensive case challenging Sotomayor’s biases and prejudices on race and foreign law.
Sen. Schumer performed a full-on smear of conservatives, claiming they won’t confirm a Hispanic.
Sen. Graham rebuffed that by pointing out Republican support for Miguel Estrada and then challenged Sotomayor’s ethnic-centered speeches. But his main point:
“Unless you have a complete meltdown, you will be confirmed.”
Graham rambles on about elections having consequences. Says he doesn’t know how he’ll vote. But I think Graham’s Kabuki act is rather transparent. He’ll wait for Sotomayor to reassure him that she can be impartial, and after all his obligatory sound and fury, he will vote for her.
Must-read: Make sure to read Randy Barnett’s WSJ op-ed on the Seinfeld hearings.
If you suspect this week’s Senate confirmation hearings for Sonia Sotomayor will be, like “Seinfeld,” a show about nothing, you are probably right. To understand why, we need to revisit an era that remade how lawyers and the public think about law, and especially the Constitution…
…Today we live in a legal world in which many progressives and conservatives share the legal realists’ preoccupation with results. So justices must be chosen who will reach the politically correct results or opposed because they will reach the wrong results. Judicial confirmation hearings are thereby turned into a game of gotcha, with questioners trying to trip up the other side’s nominees, and nominees quite properly refusing to reveal the only thing their inquisitors truly care about: how they would rule in particular cases that are likely to come before the Court.
But postures must be assumed and questions must be asked. So senators and nominees opine about two empty concepts. The first is “stare decisis” or precedent: Will the nominee follow the hallowed case of U.S. v. Whatchamacallit or not?
Sen. Tom Coburn gave a very eloquent opening statement on the rule of law, principles of constancy, and Constitution as our foundational document.
Takeaway quote: “The rule of law is the glue that binds us together.”
Takeaway quote number two: “If we disregard objective consideration of facts, then all facts are subjective.”
Sen. Durbin empathizes with Sotomayor about race and gender. ‘Cuz he’s down with the Wise Latina Ladies.
12:38pm: Senate hearing recesses.