Jay, of course senators on the Judiciary Committee should ask thoughtful questions about what we often refer to as “judicial philosophy” during the hearings on Judge Sonia Sotomayor. There is only one problem: some members of the committee have already made it clear they are planning ideological bloviations which will take up valuable time that ought to be spent on serious questions.
Politico has noted that some Republicans have come out swinging harder than expected. This didn’t surprise me at all. Virtually everything Senators Jeff Sessions and John Cornyn have done since Sotomayor was nominated was gripe over her “smart Latina” comment (which has absolutely no bearing on her qualifications for anything). This has allowed space for Senator Orrin Hatch to crank up the “left wing groups” mantra to show some “conspiracy” behind the hearings, the latest stunt, of course, invoking claimed efforts to destroy anti-Sotomayor witness Frank Ricci (that is, to point out that Ricci had a previous record of claiming discrimination before the claim that lead to the recent Supreme Court decision about his later claim of discrimination).
Other space has been occupied by Senator Mitch McConnell whose main yapping point
has been that there is so much material that the hearings and votes
should be postponed (since we know he’ll be reading every document).
It’s one thing for these senators to repeatedly make haughty
comments (if they want to waste all of our time, I can’t stop them).
But it’s quite another when we have to listen to shout outs from the
peanut gallery. Already today, an anti-abortion activist yelled,
“Senator, what about the unborn?” when Senator Dianne Feinstein was
speaking. He was quickly silenced and escorted out of the room.
This confirmation hearing is not a free-for-all. Serious questions
need to be addressed. I just wonder, will anybody ask them? Why don’t
you let the Senators on your side of this debate know that it is time
to quit whining and get serious. Maybe you’d like to counsel
the ideological advocates against choice that they have plenty of ways
to get their ideas across short of screaming during the hearings.
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