[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/07/13/sotomayor.hearing/art.sotomayer.01.cnn.jpg caption="Judge Sonia Sotomayor listens to opening statements Monday at her confirmation hearing."]
Sherrilyn A. Ifill
As confirmation hearings for Judge Sonia Sotomayor begin before the Senate Judiciary Committee this week, it’s probably best to keep some perspective on the significance of the proceedings.
Unless there’s a violent crime in her past, Judge Sotomayor will be confirmed as an associate justice of the Supreme Court. Given Al Franken’s recent seating as the 60th Democratic vote in the Senate, it’s a numerical certainty that a nominee approved by Democrats will be confirmed. This reality will not stop Republicans from doing their best to drag Judge Sotomayor’s name through the mud and to paint her as a dangerous, racially driven, judicial activist.
In fact, Republicans have been “workshopping” their Sotomayor strategy over the past two weeks, staging mini-rehearsals in an attempt to figure out which tactic will most excite their base, not alienate Latino voters and refocus the seriously adrift Republican Party. Parts have been handed out to key players on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, is to bring the intellectual challenge. He’s been practicing with a cleverly conceived “Daily Question for Judge Sotomayor” on his Web site. Many of the questions posed are surprisingly substantive, and the explanatory text that accompanies each question is a good way to get his constituents and sympathetic journalists up to speed on the dynamics of Republican resistance to Judge Sotomayor’s nomination.
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