So! This morning at 10 a.m. sharp, the Senate Judiciary committee will open the Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Sonia Sotomayor. I don’t know about you, but I’m kinda excited.
H.L. Mencken (who was no friend to women, mind) once said that, “I confess I enjoy democracy immensely. It is incomparably idiotic, and hence incomparably amusing.” This more or less sums up the reasons why I am such a nerd for this sort of show, which ideally I should stay away from for my own mental health. But it’s too funny! Nothing entertains me more than people who take themselves so unbelievably seriously that they begin spouting pompous nonsense in hopes of making the evening news.
And thank God for the comedy, because it’s not like there’s any suspense here. As Dahlia Lithwick notes, there is little doubt that Sotomayor will be confirmed. I haven’t, in fact, said much about the nomination in this forum or any other because I cannot say that my heart swells with music at the prospect of Sotomayor on the court. I am perfectly thrilled that she is a woman and that she is Hispanic. But I am a bit old-fashioned on questions of good judging in the sense that I really think a Supreme Court ought to be a place for brilliant, iconoclastic jurists (which is why though I try I can’t totally hate Nino) and if Sotomayor is one of these, her decisions to date don’t much show it, in my admittedly limited opinion. (I know! I know! I am not the arbiter of what is smart and what isn’t. But it’s what I think.) And I think that Obama should have gone for gold instead of this choice, given his strong control of the Senate and given how many crazy cases may get before the court in the next few years before one of the conservatives drops dead and we have ourselves a real fight.
But on the upside, the fact that Sotomayor is so uncontroversial means that we may be assured that the objections to her are going to be utterly delicious peanut-brittle clusters of C-SPAN nutbarity. Highlights to include:
- Arlen Specter asking her questions about procedural law that the commentators are probably not going to really understand. He seems to have a bee in his bonnet about the Justices getting whole summers off when other Federal employees work 11 months of the year. So he proposes that they change the number of judges needed to agree to hear a case from four to TWO. If implemented, this will make the court’s docket look like my fourteen-year-old cousin’s Twitter account. Any two conservative judges will be able to unilaterally make the Court hear every nutcase who has filed a conservative lawsuit in the last two years. Bad idea, Specter.
- I expect several uses of the term “reverse racism” – if not in questions to Sotomayor herself, then by the minority witnesses, who include Frank Ricci, the plaintiff in the recent Connecticut firefighters case.
- Gun crazies are out in force on the minority witness list as well, so we can bet they’ll be whining that Sotomayor could actually ban their assault rifles. The horror! The horror!
Are any of you gonna be glued to the C-SPAN live feed the way I am?