This week, the Wonk Room will live blog Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s confirmation hearings. Yesterday, Senate conservatives mostly repeated the same tired attacks that failed to gain traction earlier in the week, apparently thinking they could do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result. As Sotomayor’s time in the hotseat comes to an end today, we’ll see if her opponents have actually figured out something new to say. We will be updating this thread throughout the day.
6:37: Apparently, while your humble blogger was prepping for a radio interview, John McGinnis, a right-wing law professor railed against citing foreign law because it is just as unacceptable as citing the Bible or the Koran in an opinion. Do we really need to make the same joke about Scalia, the Talmud and unelected Rabbis again?
4:07: Your humble blogger needs to step away for a moment. Let him know what he misses.
4:01: Interesting exchange between Specter and the firefighters. Specter asks the firefighters if they doubt Sotomayor’s good faith, both say that they are not lawyers and have no insight into that question, they simply testified because they were invited to tell their stories and they wanted to tell them.
3:58: Hatch is dwelling on the dead horse claim that all nine justices disagreed with Sotomayor in Ricci.
3:43: Klobuchar and Specter get in a politeness war over
3:40: Graham to Ricci: we are one generation removed from a time when the color of your skin and your last name were the only thing that mattered when you tried to get a job. Now we are trying to find balance.
3:37: Lindsay Graham (!) pushes back against Chavez’s claim that Sotomayor has a record of racial politics, noting that the ABA reached a different conclusion. Also notes that Republicans frequently pick people for political jobs because they are minorities, adding that doing so is just “good politics.”
3:32: Morgenthau (who is white) notes that he was a founding board member of PRLDEF.
3:24: CBS: “Sotomayor Confirmation a Done Deal“
3:22: Sessions: “It’s not like anyone is opposed to the Voting Rights Act, I voted for it.” Sessions hasn’t always felt that way. He once called the VRA a “piece of intrusive legislation.”
3:21: Sessions: “We’re going to do that crack cocaine thing we talked about.” After laughter breaks out, he corrects himself, saying that he meant that he will support reducing the crack/powder disparity.
3:09: Peter Kirsanow, who just testified as a Republican witness, has some interesting views about internment camps for Arab-Americans.
3:06: Linda Chavez, a leading opponent of civil rights laws and Fox News commentator, opens her testimony with “I testify today not as a wise Latina woman.” Keep it classy, Ms. Chavez.
2:58: Ben Vargas, the other firefighter, is now testifying. Like Ricci, he emphasizes the essential role that firefighters play in protecting people’s lives, and his belief that he was judged on the basis of his race. Like Ricci, we agree that Vargas is an heroic man who was caught up in circumstances he could not control. He lost his case because of a binding precedent, not because of any verdict on his character.
2:50: Ricci’s remarks focus on the great deal of specialized knowledge that firefighters must have, his belief that the test that he took did a fine job of testing this knowledge, and how hard he worked to pass the test. To be clear, no one doubts that Ricci, a man who spent his entire career running into burning buildings to save people’s lives, is a dedicated and heroic firefighter. As a judge, Sotomayor’s job was not to decide whether Frank Ricci is sympathetic–he would have won that case in a walk–the issue is what the law requires. In this case, Second Circuit precedent simply wasn’t on Ricci’s side.