Wednesday, July 15, 2009

SCOTUS Hearings (updated)

Okay, two people have now asked me why I am not writing anything about the Sotomayer hearings. The first reason is that she is not going to say anything even remotely interesting; she is going to say all of the neutral meaningless legal mumbo jumbo she has been briefed to say that will get her confirmed. Do I need to say that the Senators will be mindnumingly boring? They will never actually ask a real question, but will do a lot of posturing and will make speeches with question marks on the end. The most boring person in the universe is a United States Senator.

Update: Thursday, 7:15am
Pundit, after news commentator, after pundit is prating about how the Republican Senators questioning Sotomayor are shooting themselves in their feet. Their blatant racist posturing, it is claimed, is costing them votes in the Latino and other minority communities and will cost them heavily in the upcoming 2010 primary and general elections.

They are wrong on several counts. First, those communities are not watching these hearings, and so are not hearing all of the racist posturing. The only people who have the faintest interest in these hearings are the pundits and news commentators, and those Senators don't care about those dozen or so votes, which aren't in their states anyway. If the pundits and news commentators write about the racist posturing, the general public will see the headline, yawn, and turn to the sports page.

In any case, this is 2009. If any of the general voting public did see or read about the racist posturing now, they will have completely forgotten about it by Fall of 2010. The only thing about which the American people have less interest than soccor is politics.


  1. The president gets to nominate SCOTUS justices "..with the advice and consent of the Senate...". This used to be a pretty simple issue for 150 years, until early in the 20th century, they became full blown affairs in the senate, especially with the increase of media involvement. Teahm the talking heads only have a few vote, but they can influence a certain segment of society.

    The last several SCOTUS hearings have been like this. They can't really say "I will vote this way when/if such-and-such case comes up", that could be pre-judging a case, which is wrong and perhaps illegal. Or grounds for recusement. Or something. Anyway, no one nominated to the SCOUS is dumb and they have a cadre or advisors to shepherd them through the process.

    There is almost always pre-qualification and political review prior to nominating anyone (except for Harriet Meyers). The only way any nominee can really fail if they turn out to be a baby torturer or something. Of course, Clarence Thomas was very close becasue of allegations, which overshadowed his (very) slim actual qualifications.

    I think all the BS in the hearings is political posturing, pure and simple. When you can turn a word or phrase here and there into a full blown "racial" issue, or "bias" or whatever, it's saddening. She will be confirmed, there is no doubt. Both sides are just trying to increase/decrease the vote spread.

    Just get it over with.

  2. Arthur12:02 AM

    Um, anybody remember Rober Bork? He was smart, even for a SCOTUS nominee, but he got shot down. Of course, that "cadre of advisors" shepherding nominees around happend after him, and probably because of him!
    As to Clarence Thomas, I was unaware that he had ANY qualifications, (very) slim or other-wise. If there was any doubt at the time of his hearings, just look at his record since being confirmed.