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Kyl Threatens GOP Boycott of Sotomayor Hearing

Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-AZ) told Roll Call yesterday that he and his Republican colleagues on the Judiciary Committee may boycott Judge Sotomayor’s hearings if Judiciary Chair Patrick Leahy (D-VT) does not cave to right-wing demands to delay the hearings:

“As the hearing time approaches we will evaluate whether we can make that deadline,” Kyl said, explaining that if Republicans do not feel they can adequately question Sotomayor they will try to meet with Leahy to make a plea for more time.

However, Kyl, who serves on the Judiciary Committee, did not explicitly rule out the use of delay tactics, including a Republican boycott of the confirmation hearings, if an accommodation cannot be made.

But Kyl is not entitled to any more accommodations than what he has already received. Far from expediting Sotomayor’s confirmation process, Leahy set a schedule which is virtually identical to that enjoyed by Bush appointee John Roberts, even though Chief Justice Roberts’ 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, and even though thousands of new documents relating to Roberts were uncovered just two weeks before his hearings began.

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Kyl’s threat to take his ball and go home if he doesn’t get his way is unfortunate, but it is hardly surprising. Earlier this week, all seven GOP members of the Judiciary Committee signed a letter demanding that Sotomayor complete a series of irrelevant or even impossible tasks before her nomination may be considered.