Sotomayor Hearings Start Today

This is the week that will make Senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions (R-AL), ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, a Republican star. Here is the man that is the very embodiment of the Republican Party that emerged out of the Civil Rights Movement, the anti-everybody not a white male party. He is what the Republican Party is today - a reactionary, resentful, paranoid, white Southern male.

In the Sotomayor hearings, I will be watching for two things - (1) will Democratic Senators try to fight and win the framing wars on right wing judicial activism? (Sotmayor's confirmation is a foregone conclusion imo.); (2) Will Republicans allow (and Democrats encourage) the GOP image to be cemented as the party against women, Latinos, African Americans, Asians and "Others" - refighting "The Lost Cause"? The NYTimes provides a list of "experts" who point to other things to "look for":

< Sunday Night Open Thread | What Sen. Jefferson Beauregard Sessions (R-AL) Will Not Say Today >
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    Personally (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by CST on Mon Jul 13, 2009 at 08:45:28 AM EST
    I think #2 has already been achieved with regard to Sotomayor.

    Jeff Sessions (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by BarnBabe on Mon Jul 13, 2009 at 08:58:32 AM EST
    Yesterday in a comment BTD said something to the effect that after this week we would all know who Jeff Sessions is. And he was right. Saw his name in a few articles this morning already.

    It also reminded me that for one July weekend 18 years ago we spent watching the Anita Hill 'trial like' hearing. After that I really knew who Arlan and Orrin were and Biden too. Before that I did not even realize that Specter has been on the Warren Commission investigating JFK's death.

    Specter (none / 0) (#20)
    by BackFromOhio on Mon Jul 13, 2009 at 12:32:51 PM EST
    was not only on the Warren Commission, but he supported the laughable single bullet theory.  Always ready to carry the the charge for those in power.

    I really hope both ... (none / 0) (#1)
    by Robot Porter on Mon Jul 13, 2009 at 08:40:10 AM EST
    of those things are achieved.

    In relation to (2) I will be looking for some memorable grand-standing by the Republicans on this perception which can be pointed to for years to come.

    Something that makes even the most committed Republican cringe.  And makes Dems create ridiculing T-shirts and bumper-stickers.

    And who said confirmation hearings can't be fun?


    I thnk just the opposite (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by jbindc on Mon Jul 13, 2009 at 08:43:53 AM EST
    the Republicans will do a little grandstanding to placate their base, but I don't expect too many fireworks.  They know this confirmation is a foregone conclusion, so I don't see them expending too much (of the very little) political capital on this- not when they have bigger fights coming up.

    That would be my advice ... (none / 0) (#4)
    by Robot Porter on Mon Jul 13, 2009 at 08:47:58 AM EST
    to them.  But sometimes they just can't help themselves.

    Sessions is particularly (none / 0) (#17)
    by inclusiveheart on Mon Jul 13, 2009 at 09:19:11 AM EST
    undisciplined AND he is the ranking member on the committee now.

    He is a whiny pissant.  The Southern White Males in my family would eat him for breakfast were they to meet face to face with Sessions - figuratively speaking of course.  


    I recently looked at her Circuit court (none / 0) (#5)
    by andgarden on Mon Jul 13, 2009 at 08:52:53 AM EST
    confirmation hearing transcript (PDF) :

    SEN. THURMOND: A former Supreme Court justice had expressed his view of Constitutional interpretation as fol-
    lows, and I quote, we look to the history of the time of framing of the Constitution, and the intervening history of inter-
    pretation.  But the ultimate question must be, what do the words and the text mean in our time?  End quote.
     Do you agree with this statement?

    MS. SOTOMAYOR: No, sir.  Not fully.
     I agree with the first two parts of it.  If you look at the Constitution and what it meant at the time.  The last suggests that
    I would be trying to change it's meaning today.  And no.
     I think the first two would inform what the last results should be, which is what does it mean today, and how to apply
    new facts to that, if the issue is new facts.

    [. . .]

     SEN. SESSIONS: And if we -- Judge Sotomayor, if you -- would you agree that if we respect that Constitution, we
    have to enforce it, the good and bad parts?
     MS. SOTOMAYOR: Absolutely, sir.
     SEN. SESSIONS: Even if we don't agree with a part of it?
     MS. SOTOMAYOR: Absolutely.

     SEN. SESSIONS: And we really undermine and weaken that Constitution when we try to bend it to make it fit our con-
    temporary feelings of the moment?
     MS. SOTOMAYOR: Sir, I don't believe we should bend the Constitution under any circumstance.  It says what it says.  
    We should do honor to it.

    [. . .]

     SEN. ASHCROFT: Do you believe that there's a constitutional right to homosexual conduct, by prisoners?
     MS. SOTOMAYOR: No, sir.  There isn't.  Case law is very clear about that.
     The only constitutional right that homosexuals have, is the same constitutional right every citizen of the United States
    has, which is not to have government action taken against them arbitrarily and capriciously.  The Supreme Court said
    that last term, in Evans v. Romer (sp).  But outside of that, that's a basic constitutional right, not to them in particular,
    but to the world that constitutes the US.
     SEN. ASHCROFT: Do you think there should be one, a special constitutional right.
     MS. SOTOMAYOR: I don't think that we should be making constitutional rights any greater than they exist right now.  
    The Constitution should be amended sparingly, sir, as it has been throughout our history.
     It is something that should be done only after much history and much thought.
     SEN. ASHCROFT: Do you agree with the amendments that have been made to date?
     MS. SOTOMAYOR: Yes, sir.  It's the document that I live by.
     SEN. ASHCROFT: I agree with them.  And think it's good that they were amended.  So, I, you know, I accept the
     So, in your judgment, you wouldn't read additional rights into the Constitution, like a right for homosexual conduct on
    the part of a prisoner.  
    MS. SOTOMAYOR: I can't do it, sir.  I can't do it because it is so contrary to what I am as a law-
    yer, and as a judge.
     The Constitution is what it is.  We cannot read rights into them. They have been created for us.
     SEN. ASHCROFT: The Constitution then, as a matter of policy, you would like see protected?
     MS. SOTOMAYOR: I never thought about that in a while, sir.  I know--
     SEN. ASHCROFT: My time's not up.
     MS. SOTOMAYOR: I think I --
     SEN. ASHCROFT: In your opinion, do you think Congress has the right, constitutionally, to restrict the jurisdiction of
    the lower federal courts?
     MS. SOTOMAYOR: You know, I haven't examined that question in the longest time.  But I can't, I'm not thinking, we
    were created by legislation of Congress, so I would think that if Congress created it, Congress can take it away.
     What you can't do is take away that which the Constitution would give the courts.  I think that was established in Mar-
    bury v. Madison. But after that, not looking at the question, or studying it in depth, I can't give a better answer than that.
     SEN. ASHCROFT: Thank you.  That will be all.  Thank you.

    I would be asking her about this, because the last thing we need is another Byron White.

    Just the thought of Whizzer and (none / 0) (#16)
    by KeysDan on Mon Jul 13, 2009 at 09:14:42 AM EST
    his homophobia scares me.

    You Left Out Dumb (none / 0) (#7)
    by bob h on Mon Jul 13, 2009 at 08:59:00 AM EST
    He is what the Republican Party is today - a reactionary, resentful, paranoid, white Southern male.

    PBS cuts off her opening statement (none / 0) (#8)
    by andgarden on Mon Jul 13, 2009 at 09:02:23 AM EST
    and skips to bumbling Leahy.

    Did she give it yet? (none / 0) (#9)
    by jbindc on Mon Jul 13, 2009 at 09:05:47 AM EST
    All schedules said the hearings started at 10, so I don't think she gave it yet.  

    But I liked how he mentioned her being valedictorian and a Phi Beta Kappa - take that all those who think she's stupid.


    She apparently said a few words (none / 0) (#10)
    by andgarden on Mon Jul 13, 2009 at 09:07:00 AM EST
    that they missed.

    Odd, because Congressional committees always run late in my experience.


    She gives it AFTER (none / 0) (#11)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jul 13, 2009 at 09:07:10 AM EST
    all the Senators speak.

    Two points (none / 0) (#12)
    by andgarden on Mon Jul 13, 2009 at 09:08:13 AM EST
    First apparently she said something before Leahy started, and second, only would the Senate squander the opportunity of this first hour to give themselves each 10 minutes first.

    Hey (none / 0) (#14)
    by jbindc on Mon Jul 13, 2009 at 09:12:30 AM EST
    These people like to bloviate.  This is nothing new - you know that!

    I thought I read today is (none / 0) (#18)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Jul 13, 2009 at 09:49:59 AM EST
    them speaking their ten minutes and her questioning begins tomorrow.

    Correct (none / 0) (#19)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jul 13, 2009 at 09:59:09 AM EST
    No questoning today.

    Sotomayor gets the last word.

    Smart by Leahy.


    I guess I'll be looking out (none / 0) (#13)
    by dk on Mon Jul 13, 2009 at 09:09:17 AM EST
    for our "liberal" senators to be asking her about issues I care about, and, if necessary, taking the stand that they will refuse to vote for her if she does provide them with the answers they are looking for.

    Oops...I meant "does not provide" (none / 0) (#15)
    by dk on Mon Jul 13, 2009 at 09:13:11 AM EST