Saturday, July 18, 2009

Sorry, been under the weather

Methinks the whole damn Love Boat crew has been sick!

Anyway, some scattershot thoughts on the Sotomayor hearings.

Nothing surprising really happened in light of the absurdity of having someone with Jefferson Beauregard Session's record leading the inquisition questioning and what that said about the party. It turned out to be exactly what I expected, the Repubs using the forum to rile up their base on brown people.

That said, the GOP and the Dems both screwed with it. The GOP tried to rally their base, the Dems failed to aim at the twisted direction of the Roberts court.

And THEN the Republicans dragged out one of the Bush administration's tired old tricks, using people in uniform as props. Exactly WHY were the firefighters there? [as an aside, it should be noted that Mr. Ricci is a very litigious fellow. Whenever he feels wronged, he calls one of those pesky "trial lawyers" the Republicans loathe. he is a serial litigator.] Litigants do not appear before appellate court judges. His case before Judge Sotomayor's panel was strictly a paper affair. The judges saw the district court record, read the briefs and heard the lawyers. Period. They would not have seen Frank in person, unless he was in the spectators' benches. He had nothing to add to the hearings except "I'm white, and I'm in uniform. She's not in uniform and she's brown!"

We have also seen the end of confirmation hearings as evaluative and informational inquiries. Now they are just a circus.

First, both sides grandstand, with the liberals equating her to Oliver Wendell Holmes and then the conservatives, after greeting her with some nice platitudes, ask why she hates America and has puppy smoothies for breakfast. Conservatives ask if we can kill this "little baby," liberals ask if an ex-con child rapist meth addict should be able to buy a shoulder-mounted rocket launcher under the 2nd, and of course the judge rightfully says that she can't speculate on future rulings.

Spector came close to an opportunity during his ever-so-predictable "why doesn't the court hear more cases" rant but wandered off into asking about one specific one. Of course she can't answer that, Senator. She wasn't there. She didn't read the briefs, wasn't in on conference how could she say that any particular case could have been heard.

Senators, STOP WASTING TIME and leave the community theater to me. Sen. Spector, ask her and future nominees about their GENERAL PHILOSOPHY of court docketing. What KINDS of cases need to be heard? What are your philosophical criteria in the abstract for seeing a case as decision-worthy?

And to the rest of you, leave your pet issues behind. Ask about judicial philosophy, her views on 14th amendment incorporation, the proper balance of federalism, etc.

For the love of God, ask questions that might actually be answered.

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