New thread on Sotomayor confirmation hearings

Judge Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation hearings ended today. I hardly watched any of it on tv, but I got the highlights from David Waldman's liveblogging at Congress Matters: Wednesday morning session, Wednesday afternoon session, Thursday morning session, and Thursday afternoon session.

On Wednesday Senator Chuck Grassley had a contentious exchange with Judge Sotomayor regarding a 1972 case on same-sex marriage. Tom Beaumont posted the transcript at the Des Moines Register site. Sotomayor read the case last night and answered more questions from Grassley about it today. I posted an excerpt from the transcript after the jump.

According to MSNBC reporter Norah O'Donnell, Grassley told her today that his constituents are "pretty unanimous against her," referring to Sotomayor. On what basis can he make that claim? I don't doubt that wingnuts have been working his phone lines, but I hope he doesn't expect anyone to believe that Iowans overwhelmingly oppose the confirmation of this extremely intelligent and qualified judge.

Questioning of Sotomayor concluded this morning, and outside witnesses testified this afternoon. As expected, Republicans brought in New Haven firefighter Frank Ricci.

Share any thoughts about the confirmation process in this thread. How many Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee will vote to confirm Sotomayor?

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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.

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