Thursday, July 16, 2009


I've been paying a moderate amount of attention to the Senate hearings on Judge Sotomayor. I'm not impressed by either side.

She may be a good jurist, but she certainly hasn't proven it by the cases that are being discussed and her performance at the hearings. Basically, I see her as a "let's get a minority on the court as quickly as we can" nominee. I'm not going to debate whether or not that's a valid reason for putting someone on the Supreme Court, but couldn't the administration have at least found a Latina with a clue?

The Democratic Senators on the committee have been setting them up for her so she can knock them down all week. The Republicans have been a bit more diligent on getting her to actually discuss her qualifications, but have failed to ask the hard questions in what is basically a job interview for one of the most prestigious positions in the country.

I'm not that worried about the outcome of all this, since it's pretty much preordained that she'll be confirmed. She's a liberal replacing a liberal, so I don't expect that her presence will change much.

I'm more worried that one of the conservative justices might keel over and leave Obama with a chance to replace a right leaning justice with a fire breathing liberal and change the almost perfect balance of the court. Let's face it, most decisions in my memory have been 5-4, with one moderate judge moving between the two camps depending on the subject of the case. If Justice Thomas strokes out one of these mornings, then it could be 5-4 or 6-3 all the time. And that would be the end of any strict constructionalist rulings out of the court for a very long time.

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