Ah! the benefits of summer Supreme Court confirmation hearings
(not all that many people paying attention)
No wonder Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy scheduled the Sotomayor confirmation hearings for the middle of the summer when fewer Americans are focused on the news and thus less likely to follow the debate over her nomination. With fewer people following the hearings, there will be a smaller pool of people who might object to her performance, decreasing the likelihood that all that many people will call in to their Senators to tell them to vote against the confirmation of a judge whom they don’t believe qualified to serve on the highest court in the land.
I mean, I have been reluctant to follow the hearings. And if I, a law school graduate with an interest in legal philosophy and the direction of the court, show such disinterest in the hearings, how then would the average American, less interested in politics and the law, than I, react?
I have skimmed a few blogs to learn of the goings-on on Capitol Hill and Obama’s nominee doesn’t seem to have acquitted herself very well. A plurality of Americans now oppose her nomination. Bookworn found her “incoherent” and “weaseling.”
One of the things we hope to learn during confirmation hearings is a nominee’s approach to the constitutional protection of liberty. But in her exchange with Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) about the second amendment and its potential application to the states, Sonia Sotomayor revealed remarkably little about her understanding of how the Supreme Court protects liberty under the fourteenth amendment. For example, more than once she said a right was “fundamental” if it was “incorporated” into the fourteenth amendment. But this gets it backwards. The Supreme Court incorporates a right BECAUSE it finds it to be fundamental. When asked how she understands the criteria by which the court concludes that a right is fundamental, she did not give a substantive response.
This kind of confirms my impression of her from what I’ve read in the weeks since the President announced her nomination. She seems to lack the intelletual firepower of the two Justices most recently appointed to the Court. And that of such distinguished would-be Obama nominees like Pam Karlan. She seems instead to repeat the standad lines of a liberral, “ethnic identity” jurisprudence.
Well, she does seem to be a suitable replacement for such an undistinguished justice as David Souter.
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