Complaining about the Senate’s plans to consider the nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor before the August recess, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told Fox News that obstructing Sotomayor’s confirmation is necessary to prevent a situation like Guantanamo Bay:
“We don’t want to have a situation like they did with Guantanamo where they didn’t even have a game plan,” McConnell, R-Ky., said, referring to the Obama’s administration’s lack of details on closing the detention facility, which compelled senators last month to strip $80 million of funding for the plan from a war spending bill.
“It’s an arbitrary date and it strikes me as a ticket to disaster,” he said.
It’s unclear how the timely confirmation of a Supreme Court Justice resembles the task of closing down an unconstitutional internment camp.
McConnell must not have been paying very close attention during the last eight years. The Guantanamo prison is a quagmire not because of President Obama’s lack of planning, but because of President Bush’s incompetent management of the facility. Because “most physical evidence” documenting why individual detainees were brought to Gitmo “either disappeared or had been stored in locations that no one with any tenure at, or institutional knowledge of, the Commissions could identify with any degree of specificity or certainty,” the Bush Administration made it nearly-impossible to perform the constitutionally required task of determining which detainees must be released.
The truth is this: Judge Sotomayor’s hearings will begin 48 days after her nomination was announced. Chief Justice Roberts, whose record was more difficult to investigate because it was necessary to track down thousands of pages of documents Roberts produced while he worked in the Reagan and Bush I Administrations, received a hearing after only 51 days. The Chief Justice was confirmed 72 days after his nomination, even though Senators were distracted from reviewing Roberts’ record after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast. The 72nd day after Sotomayor’s nomination will be August 6, the day before the August recess is supposed to begin. By confirming Sotomayor according to the Senate’s intended schedule, President Obama’s nominee will receive exactly the same treatment afforded to President Bush’s nominee.
In the end, Senator McConnell’s disingenuous attempts to obstruct Judge Sotomayor have nothing to do with allowing sufficient time to investigate her record. He’s just hoping to buy more time to drag Sotomayor through the mud.