Sotomayor confirmation hearings thread

So, who watched Judge Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation hearings today?

In case you missed it, Oliver Willis posted the complete transcript of Sotomayor's opening statement.

Talking Points Memo posted excerpts from all the senators' opening statements. Chuck Grassley (R, IA) gave her quite the lecture about "judicial restraint" as opposed to "President Obama's 'empathy' standard." I don't recall any of the Senate Republicans being concerned when Judge Sam Alito acknowledged during his confirmation hearings that he thinks about his own family's experiences when considering immigration or discrimination cases.

Like many of the Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Grassley referenced the infamous "wise Latina" remark. I can't help but notice that Judge Sotomayor's critics quote almost exclusively from her speeches rather than from the more than 3,000 rulings she has written or joined. None of them acknowledge the real picture of her record in nearly 100 race-related cases.

As for Grassley's concerns about "judicial restraint,"Big Tent Democrat (a constitutional lawyer) shows in this post that the Ricci decision

is an act of judicial restraint. The Second Circuit panel, which included Judge Sonia Sotomayor, deferred to a decision of the elected officials of the City of New Haven. Whether the decision was correct or incorrect, it was decidedly the opposite of judicial activism.

On the contrary, the five conservative Supreme Court judges who overturned the lower court ruling in Ricciwere engaging in judicial activism.

Senator Arlen Specter showed up several hours late now that he's a low-ranking Democrat instead of the ranking Republican on the committee. He then complained that the Supreme Court is not hearing enough cases. Mr. desmoinesdem is much more of a SCOTUS-watcher than I am, and he says it's reasonable to suggest that the court could take on more cases, but it's ridiculous to hold up the Burger court as the standard (which Specter does). According to Mr. desmoinesdem, the Burger court was practically breaking down near the end because of the crushing caseload, which is why Rehnquist scaled things back when he became chief justice.

This thread is for any thoughts about Sotomayor's confirmation or highlights from today's hearings.

Tags: Chuck Grassley, Judicial Activism, judicial restraint, SCOTUS, Senate Judiciary Committee, Sonia Sotomayor, Sotomayor confirmation hearings, Supreme Court (all tags)

Comments

8 Comments

Re: Sotomayor confirmation hearings thread

Sotomayor will be confirmed in a walk. She will be a great Justice.

by QTG 2009-07-13 05:51PM | 0 recs
Re: Sotomayor confirmation hearings thread

It's actually kind of amusing how the process requires both sides to swear fealty to the other side's talking points.  Republican nominees have to show they will be compassionate and empathetic, Democratic nominees have to show they will be restrained and follow the law.

by Steve M 2009-07-13 05:57PM | 0 recs
Re: Sotomayor confirmation hearings thread

I missed the hearings. However, I did catch Senator Sessions' pontification. Pretty clear that he won't vote to confirm.

by Charles Lemos 2009-07-13 06:37PM | 0 recs
I didn't hear Sessions

but I laughed when I saw David Waldman/KagroX tweet, "Hilarious to hear Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III of AL decry Sotomayor's reference to 'heritage.' Never happens in Alabama."

by desmoinesdem 2009-07-13 07:27PM | 0 recs
Re: I didn't hear Sessions

That's pretty funny.

by Charles Lemos 2009-07-13 08:01PM | 0 recs
Re: Sotomayor confirmation hearings thread

Given the current composition of the Court, we should be happy that the case load is small. Fewer cases yield fewer opportunities to chip away at the Warren Court.

by Matt42 2009-07-13 07:54PM | 0 recs
excellent point

Presumably Specter doesn't share all of our concerns on that front.

by desmoinesdem 2009-07-14 03:45AM | 0 recs
Re: Sotomayor confirmation hearings thread

Sheldon Whitehouse is a superstar.  I was sad when he won, because I really liked his predecessor.  I am no longer sad.

by lojasmo 2009-07-14 05:16AM | 0 recs

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